Fans once called Ryan Adams "the new Bob Dylan." But after allegations of sexual misconduct, he might become the new Anthony Weiner. Sources tell the New York Times that the FBI has launched an investigation of the singer and is trying to determine whether he broke the law by exchanging sexually explicit messages with an underage fan. Adams, 44, allegedly began communicating with the girl, a bass player identified as Ava, when she was 14. The Times says it has reviewed messages including explicit photos the girl sent when she was 16, as well as screenshots of Adams exposing himself during video calls. In the messages, Adams repeatedly asks Ava about her age, asking her to prove that she is 18. She claimed to be older in some messages, but never provided any proof.
Adams says he "would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage." Legal experts tell the Times that prosecutors are likely to consider whether Adams "reasonably believed" the girl was of age. Adams is also accused of pressuring young female artists for sex after promising to help their careers. Sources tell Variety that the release of new album Big Colors, scheduled for April 19, has been put on hold. Three companies that make gear for musicians have also called off deals with Adams, including JHS Pedals, which says it has discontinued its Adams-branded pedal and is planning to rebrand and sell remaining inventory, "with a portion of the sale going towards the fight against sexual abuse and misconduct." (Adams says the Times report on his behavior is "upsettingly inaccurate.")