Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst files libel suit over rape claim

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Image Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Musician Conor Oberst filed a $1 million libel lawsuit yesterday against a woman who accused him of raping her in the comments section of a blog, the AP reports.

The suit, filed in Manhattan, stems from an XOJane story in December called It Happened to Me: I Dated a Famous Rock Star & All I Got Was Punched in the Face; the woman Oberst is suing posted an anonymous comment on the story claiming that she had been raped by a musician ten years prior in North Carolina, when she was 16. She later claimed that it was Oberst, best known for his work as Bright Eyes, as well as Desaparecidos and the indie supergroup Monsters of Folk.

Oberst is reportedly seeking $1 million in damages over the accusation, which his publicist said was “absolutely, unequivocally false” in a statement. (Oberst says he intends to give the money to charity.) Read the full statement below: 

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 benefitting the victims of violence against women.

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