Vicky Cornell has allowed the current Soundgarden members and their managers at Red Light Management to regain access to the band’s website and social media accounts. They filed a motion requesting access to the accounts back in March 2021 after claiming that Cornell had changed the passwords back in December 2019 and locked them out.
In the claim, they stated that the accounts had been handed over to Cornell in October 2019 when their previous management company, Patriot Management, closed down. An email dated December 3, 2019 that came out of the court filing allegedly read, “Vicky [Cornell] has since changed all the social media passwords for the band accounts and will not share them with [Patriot] as she wants the band, and I quote, ‘to sue her for them.’”
In March 2021, they did sue her for them, with a hearing originally set to begin in April of this year. Soundgarden’s Twitter account was inactive for over a year from January 2020 to April 2021, long enough for its verification badge to reportedly be removed, although it has returned with the band’s return to social media. The band’s Instagram and Facebook pages had remained active, consisting of posts highlighting anniversaries of various Soundgarden albums and events, including an annual remembrance of Cornell’s late husband Chris’ passing.
A representative for Vicky Cornell stated in March, “Ms. Cornell’s forthcoming motion will expose the truth about Soundgarden’s supposed social media accounts. Ms. Cornell created the social media accounts; grew the accounts by allowing them to trade on Chris’ then-existing, popular accounts; devoted her personal time and money in growing these accounts as Soundgarden displayed absolutely no interest in social media (unless it was to promote their solo projects). Ms. Cornell has overseen these accounts for close to a decade. The fact that Soundgarden is unaware of the user-names and passwords for their alleged ‘own’ accounts confirms their utter lack of involvement in creating, growing and maintaining their alleged accounts. Soundgarden solely wants the social media accounts in order to maliciously defame Ms. Cornell, provoke her online stalkers (as Matt Cameron has done continuously) and to instigate third-parties to harass Ms. Cornell and her minor children. Moreover, while they now claim a sense of urgency, Soundgarden’s claims are a stale repackaging of the claims that they filed in the Florida court in May of 2020.”
Chris Cornell’s manager, Ron Laffitte, also released a statement. “During my 6 years working with Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, Chris and Vicky always controlled all of Soundgarden’s social media accounts, both directly and through their own personal social media representative,” he stated. “At no time were any other members of Soundgarden involved, and this was true both before and after Chris died. Because of this, Soundgarden’s attempt to seek an injunction in connection with the social media accounts is surprising to say the least.”
Now, the band has returned to social media, sharing two posts on all accounts announcing “a temporary agreement” transferring the social media accounts and website to guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron, bassist Ben Shepherd and Red Light Management. Another post asked that fans commenting on the sites strictly avoid all comments about any current or former band members’ wives or accusations of malpractice surrounding Chris Cornell’s death.
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Vicky Cornell has had plenty of friction with the band following the passing of her husband Chris in 2017. In 2019, she filed a lawsuit against the remaining members and their business manager Rit Venerus, asking that she be declared the rightful owner of her late husband’s unreleased recordings, name and likeness, as well as alleging that Soundgarden had been withholding money from her.
Earlier this year, a judge recommended the dismissal of two of Cornell’s six claims against the band, deciding that the band had not withheld royalties and that manager Rit Venerus had not breached his responsibility to the band’s interests. The judge, Michelle Peterson, stated that the disputed funds actually belonged to the band’s partnership and that Venerus had never agreed to be Vicky Cornell’s advisor, only agreeing to act as an intermediary between her and the band.
According to Cornell, the band allegedly offered her what she called a “villainously low figure” in her denial of $300,000 for her late husband’s interests in Soundgarden. She responded with a lawsuit in which she tried to buy out the remaining band members’ rights instead, offering $16 million at first, then $21 million, for their rights. They also declined. Both parties hope to use the unreleased vocal demos created by Chris Cornell on a final album.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat