Don McLean‘s daughter Jackie has accused her father of mentally and emotionally abusing her – allegations that he has denied.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jackie, who is the frontwoman of indie rock duo Roan Yellowthorn, claims her father was abusive throughout her childhood. In one example, she accuses Don of verbally abusing her after he couldn’t find something in the house. At no point does Jackie accuse Don of physical abuse.
“My dad couldn’t find a key to a piece of furniture and he thought that I hid it and he was just screaming in my face,” she told Rolling Stone.
“I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t know where the key was and I was just trapped in that moment having to endure the fear and the trauma until it ended. That was just a normal kind of thing that there would be screaming and yelling.”
As she got older, Jackie said Don fostered a “strong culture of misogyny” within the home, commenting on women’s appearances on the TV. He’d also allegedly make indirect remarks about her voice, which initially discouraged her from pursuing a music career.
“Every stage of my development was met with some level of trauma,” she said. “When I started shaving my legs, he got mad at me ’cause he noticed the razor in my room… When I got my first bra, he got mad about it.”
Don McLean denied all claims of emotional and mental abuse when contacted by Rolling Stone. Having grown up in a physically abusive household himself, the ‘American Pie’ singer said he would never do that to a child or partner, though he admitted that he “did have a temper”.
“I don’t understand what mental and emotional abuse is,” he said.
“There would never be any paralyzing attacks ’cause her mother was always around. I would never attack her anyway; I would never attack anybody. If I yelled at you for five minutes you’d think I yelled at you for an hour because it’s shocking. I would snap sometimes; I did have a temper.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jackie accuses Don of being racist against a former boyfriend of hers, who was Black, and trying to convince her to break up with him. She also said she had to tread carefully around her childhood home, which Don decorated carefully and didn’t like disturbed.
“There was a constant state of fear in the house about the slightest thing [that] would make my dad turn into a crazy person … If somebody moved an item in the house and he didn’t know where it was, then he would go on a rampage for hours… And everyone was just constantly on edge because it was chaos.”
NME has reached out to a representative for Don McLean for further comment.
Jackie’s mother and Don’s ex-wife, Patrisha, made similar claims when interviewed. She filed for divorce from Don in 2016 after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He plead guilty to four charges, with the domestic assault charge being dismissed a year later. Patrisha currently has a ten-year restraining order out against him.
“Our survival in the home was dependent on making sure he was happy, managing his moods, hypervigilant,” Patrisha told Rolling Stone. “It was all about placating and keeping the peace.”
While Jackie had previously discussed the alleged abuse in a now-deleted blog post, the interview follows the release of Roan Yellowthorn’s new album, ‘Another Life’, which makes references to it.
“It’s like somebody who says they love you the most in the world is being the worst to you and you want to reconcile those two things and somehow make it so that they act like they love you because they’re saying that they do,” she told Rolling Stone.
“Narcissistic abuse is real,” she later wrote in a tweet sharing the Rolling Stone story. “When perpetrated by a parent, it can be debilitating.”