New developments in the rape allegations against Bright Eyes founder Conor Oberst. The singer-songwriter is launching a libel lawsuit in response to accusations made by Joanie Faircloth. Details below.
Oberst’s name is practically synonymous with Bright Eyes, the band he originally began as a solo project. Around since 1995, they’ve caught attention both for musicianship and for activism; 2006’s “When the President Talks to God” – a none-too-kind jab at President Bush – showed generous hints of both. It’s been some time since we’ve heard from the band, but Oberst has a solo release slated to show up this May.
But his name’s been in the news for worse reasons of late. Trouble began when an anonymous post appeared on an XOJane article claiming that the source had been raped by a musician when she was 16. Further comments, some on the accuser’s Tumblr, named Oberst as her attacker.
The Oberst camp instantly denied the allegations, and it seems the time has come for legal gears to grind. A libel lawsuit has been filed against the woman, identified as Joanie Faircloth. A recent statement also revealed that Oberst intended to donate any financial reward to charity.
Today Conor Oberst filed a libel lawsuit in a New York federal court against Joanie Faircloth, a resident of North Carolina, who falsely accused him of rape in the comments section of the xoJane website in December of 2013 and again, some days later, on her Tumblr page. The suit counters Faircloth’s baseless allegations and states that Oberst never had any physical contact with her, either at the concert in Durham, NC at which she claims the attack took place, or at any other time. The only connection between Oberst and Faircloth was one of artist and fan – a fan who has posted laudatory comments about Oberst elsewhere online, including describing attending his band’s concert as the “Best memory ever!”
The lawsuit filed today outlines Faircloth’s history of inventing stories and personalities online in order to gain attention. Although her false statements about Oberst have since been deleted from the locations where they were initially posted online, Oberst’s suit alleges that her malicious lies spread across the Internet and are archived by multiple blogs. Through his attorneys, Oberst requested that Faircloth recant her false accusations, but she ignored the requests. Oberst has thus been forced to proceed with this libel suit in order to set the record straight and to clear his name.
Oberst is seeking to promote the truth and repair the distress this has brought upon him and his family. Oberst intends to donate the proceeds of this suit to charities benefiting the victims of violence against women.