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by McKenna Aiello | Fri., Aug. 2, 2019 6:09 PM
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The family and bandmates of Echosmith drummer Graham Sierota wants the public to know he had no malicious intent in contacting Travis Barker's 13-year-old daughter on social media.
Sierota, 20, found himself in hot water earlier this week when Alabama Luella Barker claimed she had received messages from the musician on Instagram, including one where he called her "beautiful" and invited her to his home for a party. Alabama posted images of their alleged correspondence on social media, which prompted her famous father to speak out on the matter.
The Blink 182 rocker publicly slammed the "predatory behavior," which Sierota ultimately apologized for. Now in a new statement to E! News, those closest to Sierota have shared that he lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder and has "difficulty understanding social cues."
"We have never publicly addressed this in the past," the statement read, "but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations of Graham."
Sierota's family went on to say that his "challenges" are a "truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is."
"He sees the world as the happiest place," the statement continued, "where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included. One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us, 'Graham reached out on social media and invited us!' Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world."
In light of the incident with Alabama and the Barkers, Sierota's family said, "We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable."
They then pledged to "continue to work with him to have the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilize social media while he takes a break from it. We hope anyone who's been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies."
Best known for their 2013 song "Cool Kids," Echosmith is made up of siblings Sydney Sierota, Noah Sierota and Graham.
Alabama has since acknowledged Sierota's apology, posting on her Instagram Stories, "He is very sorry about the situation and regretful. I forgive him and would like for this all to be over."