A group of Denver musicians plans to boycott establishments affiliated with local businessman Jay Bianchi following sexual assault and abuse allegations against the longtime, and former, jam-band bar owner.
The Colorado Musicians Union on Thursday released a flyer for a June 12 picket and protest, which will take place at noon at 918 W. 1st Ave. The address is the site of So Many Roads, a bar owned by Tyler Bishop that features Bianchi’s collection of Grateful Dead memorabilia.
Bianchi — who denied the allegations to The Denver Post — also sold his longtime East Colfax Avenue bar, Sancho’s Broken Arrow, to Bishop in August 2020. In April of that year, early in the pandemic, the city forced Bianchi to vacate Sancho’s amid allegations that the bar was continuing to host events in violation of Denver’s stay-at-home orders.
The June 12 protest follows sexual assault allegations, first shared online, against Bianchi by women in the music scene. The Colorado Musicians Union website published a victim’s statement, including the names of two alleged victims — Kyle Nichole and Bonnie Utter — on Thursday.
The Denver Police Department confirmed it is investigating an incident at the address of Sancho’s Broken Arrow.
“As a general practice to protect the integrity of investigative processes, DPD does not confirm whether or not an individual is a subject of an investigation,” said Denver police spokesman Kurt E. Barnes. “DPD can confirm 741 East Colfax Ave. is listed as the location of an open sexual assault investigation.”
“What they’re protesting against seems awesome, only if it was true,” Bianchi told The Post on Thursday. “But the basis of their protest, the criminal charges that they filed against me, is a lie.”
Bianchi said he has not heard from police, nor is he aware of any potential witnesses related to the case being contacted. He said his critics are attempting to try the case in the media because they would lose in a criminal court, should a case go to trial. He compared the effort to the Salem Witch Trials.
“I have kids. I have a family. And I have a history about me that is now stained with these untruths and lies …” Bianchi said, noting what he called an atmosphere of “cancel culture” on social media, where the claims first surfaced publicly. “I always want to believe women about charges or allegations that they make, and this is really weird for me, because now I’m on the side where I know that what they’re saying is untrue.”
Denver musician Aiden Pagnini, 29, is the co-founder of the Colorado Musician’s Union and an organizer of the boycott.
“We organized this for the huge plethora of (crap) that people have gone through with Jay over the years,” Pagnini said.
The union, founded in May 2020, was formed in part to address concerns about Bianchi. But Pagnini said its musicians also will commit to “performing for no less than $100 (per) person (per) night in Colorado, to limit the amount of options venues have to pay below a living wage.”
“There’s a very large amount of people who are coming out against (Bianchi) because he represents everything that is wrong in the industry,” said musician Sarah Mount, who alleged examples such as not paying or underpaying bands and “micro- and macro-aggressions against women.”
“We’re not putting up with it any longer,” she said.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.
Source: Read Full Article