On April 12, 2021, Jon Lent, a member of Mac DeMarco’s band from 2015 to this year, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in an Edmonton, Alberta court, according to court documents obtained by Pitchfork. Lent was sentenced to two years less one day in provincial jail. The charges and eventual conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred on April 14, 2018 at or near Edmonton, according to court records, and followed an arrest in December of that year.
When reached for comment, an attorney who represented Lent during this case—as listed in documents viewed by Pitchfork—was unable to share additional information.
Lent’s conviction was first brought to Pitchfork’s attention by the woman he assaulted. In an email sent October 7, the woman, who asked to be identified only as “S,” said Lent had pleaded guilty to sexual assault earlier this year, and that he has been incarcerated since June 3. (Pitchfork has been unable to confirm if Lent is currently incarcerated, as privacy legislation prohibits the confirmation of who may or may not currently be, or has in the past been, an inmate in provincial correctional facilities, or the release of personal information, according to a spokesperson for the Alberta Ministry of Justice & Solicitor General.) “It has been almost six months since Jon was convicted and neither Jon nor Mac have said anything to address the situation,” she wrote to Pitchfork. “I now know that I was wrong to believe that legal justice also means accountability.”
When reached for comment, a representative responded via email on behalf of DeMarco and his management. They wrote that DeMarco had not been made aware that Lent had been arrested for sexual assault until April 2021 (the same month of Lent’s guilty plea and conviction). “Lent first told Mac about the sexual assault allegations in April 2021. Mac has not spoken to Lent since that conversation,” the email from the representative said. “Lent last played with Mac in January 2020. Upon learning of these allegations, Lent was immediately removed from the Mac DeMarco Band.” DeMarco added (via his representative): “I am no longer personally associated with Lent. I would like to respect the privacy of the survivor.”
Jon Lent joined Mac DeMarco’s band in 2015, an event that was announced in a comic video from November of that year. He played keyboards and bass on tour with the group for the next half-decade. S first made contact with Jon Lent on Instagram in October 2017, she told Pitchfork over the phone, noting that she had been following him on social media because he was in DeMarco’s band. “I had really loved Mac DeMarco for a long time before I met Jon, and that was the reason why I ever met him, because I was following all the people from the band on Instagram,” she said. S said she and Lent exchanged messages via that app on and off for about six months while he was on tour with DeMarco; Pitchfork viewed what appear to be screenshots of their conversations. “Then we finally met up when he got back to Edmonton,” she said.
S said she met Lent in person in early April 2018 at a bar in Edmonton. “I took a friend with me because I didn’t want to go alone,” she said. Pitchfork spoke with the woman who says she accompanied S to meet Lent. The woman, who asked to be identified only as “A,” confirmed to Pitchfork that she and S met Lent at an Edmonton bar somewhere between April 10 and 11, 2018. A said that S had asked her to join that night for safety purposes. The assault occurred days later, on April 14, and S said she reported the incident to the police “right after it happened.” “I went to the hospital and I had the rape kit, got interviewed with the investigator,” she said. A told Pitchfork that she spoke with S not long after the assault took place, and gave a statement to the police based on what S had told her about the incident. (A subsequently shared her statement with Pitchfork).
S said she and Lent were not in contact for several months following the assault. On October 3, 2018, he sent her a text message. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what I did and I realize that what I said was a misunderstanding was truly more a lack of consent,” Lent wrote in the message, which was viewed by Pitchfork. “I was fully in the wrong and I feel awful about it. It’s really been eating me up inside. I feel my initial apology sounded insincere and I just want you to know how much I’ve regretted what I did. I acted cruelly and in a hurtful manner and have been afraid to acknowledge this and I realized that in ignoring what I did I’ve been making it worse.”
S said she presented Lent’s text message to authorities. The investigator, S recalled, said the text message was sufficient evidence for Lent’s arrest, “but he just wasn’t in the country,” as he was touring with DeMarco at the time, S said. According to DeMarco’s website, DeMarco and his band began a tour in Moscow on October 12, 2018. Lent appeared to be playing with DeMarco in Russian concert footage from that month. On November 1, 2018, Lent played bass during DeMarco’s set at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris. Lent is visible onstage in a video of the performance, during which DeMarco introduces him as “Jon.”
Lent was arrested by the Edmonton Police Service on December 19, 2018, Pitchfork confirmed via email with a representative from the EPS. He was charged with one count of sexual assault. Afterward, he continued playing in DeMarco’s band. Lent can be seen performing with DeMarco in live footage shot between spring and fall 2019, including at Coachella in April, Primavera Sound in May, Glastonbury in June, Hollywood’s Ford Theatre in September, and other shows. In many of the videos, DeMarco introduces Lent, along with the rest of his band, at the top of his set. In an October 2021 clip from a Mac DeMarco show, however, Lent does not appear to be performing with the live band.
Jon Lent’s trial was originally set for April 12, 2021 at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton. The night before, S said she was notified that Lent had decided to plead guilty, and a guilty plea hearing was scheduled in place of the trial. Lent was convicted of sexual assault on April 12, and, on June 3, sentenced to two years less one day in provincial jail. He must also comply with a 10-year firearm prohibition term, which means that he cannot own a firearm or any other weapon for 10 years after his sentence expires—standard procedure for a violent offense. Lent was taken into custody after the sentencing hearing, the Edmonton Police Service confirmed; his subsequent incarceration status was not confirmed to Pitchfork.
In the years following the assault, S said she has sought counseling for emotional distress. “I’ve been to a sexual assault group three times… like a three-month group,” she said. “So I guess that’s nine months in group therapy.” She said she can no longer listen to DeMarco’s music. “After all of that happened it was hard because it was like coming to terms with… I still loved the band at the time, and I had so many records,” she said. “At first I was like, ‘It’s fine; it’s OK. I can keep listening to them and it’s not a big deal,’ but then over time I just sort of realized how terrible that made me feel. So I just couldn’t do that anymore.”
“I can’t express how painful it is to be surrounded by reminders, and to see Mac DeMarco carry on like nothing happened,” S wrote in her October 7 email to Pitchfork. “I have been waiting years for accountability from Jon Lent and Mac DeMarco. I can’t wait any longer.”
With additional reporting from Marc Hogan.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotlinehttp://www.rainn.org1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Linehttp://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)SMS: Text “HOME” to 741-741