Rex Orange County: sexual assault allegations explained – why singer cancelled his tour earlier this year

The musician appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday 10 October

By Rhona Shennan

Singer and songwriter Alex O’Connor, better known by his stage name Rex Orange County, has been charged with a number of sexual assaults that allegedly occurred earlier this year.

This is everything you need to know.

Who is Rex Orange County?

O’Connor is an English musician who grew up in a village called Grayshott, which is near Haslemere in Surrey. His interest in music began at a young age, having joined the choir where his mother worked when he was five years old.



He started learning instruments like piano, drums and guitar, and when he was 16 he began producing his own music with Apple’s Logic software. It was at this time that he enrolled at the BRIT School, where he studied drumming.

Rex Orange County performs on stage at the 2020 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California, January 18, 2020. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Rex Orange County performs on stage at the 2020 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California, January 18, 2020. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)



Over the course of his career, O’Connor has released four studio albums – Bcos U Will Never B Free in 2015, Apricot Princess in 2017, Pony in 2019, and Who Cares? in 2022 – rising to fame after featuring multiple times on Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy nominated album Flower Boy.

In 2018, O’Connor came in second for the BBC Sound of 2018 award, after Norwegian singer Sigrid, and was featured in Spotify’s RISE program, a project which aims to give the spotlight to emerging artists.



What has he been charged with?

O’Connor has been charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a woman. He appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (10 October).

Nhạc sĩ xuất hiện tại Southwark Crown Court (Ảnh của Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images cho iHeartMedia)

The musician appeared at Southwark Crown Court (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)



The court heard that O’Connor allegedly assaulted a woman, reputedly over the age of 16, over the course of two days earlier this year. On 1 June, it was claimed that the 24-year-old assaulted the woman twice in London’s West End, and then four times the next day, including once in a taxi, and one three instances in his home in Notting Hill.

O’Connor pleaded not guilty to all six charges, and was subsequently released on unconditional bail. A provisional trial date has been set for 3 January 2023.



Has he responded to the allegations?

O’Connor himself has not addressed the allegations, however a representative for the musician said: “Alex is shocked by the allegations, which he denies, and looks forward to clearing his name in court. He is unable to make any further comment because of the ongoing proceedings.”

On 2 July of this year, a month after the alleged assaults took place in June, O’Connor announced that he was cancelling the majority of his remaining 2022 tour dates, stating that his gig at Gunnersbury Park in London on 13 August would be his last show of the year.

His statement that he released on Twitter said: “It is with a great deal of sadness to announce that due to unforeseen personal circumstances, I am having to spend some time at home this year and I will not be able to continue with touring as planned.



“The UK/IRE dates will still go ahead this summer but Gunnersbury Park in London on August 13th will be the last show of the year. I am devastated to say that the Australia, New Zealand and European shows scheduled for September and November will be cancelled. All tickets will be refunded.

“This is the last thing I was to do. I love touring and I am so sorry for letting anyone down. I look forward to getting back to it as soon as I can.”



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