In case you missed the story, a commenter on XOJane accused the Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst of rape. Now, he’s suing someone named Joanie Faircloth – he alleges she made the inflammatory comments — and has pledged to give any money won in the suit to “charities benefitting [sic] the victims of violence against women:”
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.
The comments were removed from XOJane, but here they are, posted below.
Here’s the first comment, allegedly by [Joanie] Faircloth:
I was raped by a “rock star” myself. I was 16 years old, he was in his 20s. No one believed me (he wasn’t even that famous then). No one believed me because I had been his biggest fan for several years at that point, his pictures covered my locker, etc. I guess when I made the accusation, everyone thought it was some sick & twisted way to get… I don’t know, closer to him? My own mother didn’t believe me until recently and it’s 10 years later now. This guy is the poster boy for what was known as “emo” back in the day, everyone thinks he’s so sweet and sensitive and sad, that he could never be the vicious monster he was that night. It makes me sick. I want to out him so bad. Every time I hear his name, I want to tell people what he did. I think people deserve to know. But due to how shit went down with my own friends&family at the time of the assault, the backlash terrifies me. It hurts to constantly see the way people fawn over him as if he’s a God. It’s really hard dealing with your attacker being famous or popular when you know the truth about them but feel no one will listen.
I am not the author but as I said in a previous comment, I was raped by a “rock star” when I was 16 years old and he was in his 20s. My husband suggests I may feel some empowerment by outing my rapist. It was Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes (and several other bands/side projects he fronts, bright eyes being the most popular). I hope you are right about helping the next girl but I’m waiting for the backlash. Thanks for the courage, even if you weren’t directing it at me. Thank you, love. It was especially traumatizing because the way I became to know him is because his older brother was my 7th & 8th grade english teacher. His older brother is an amazing guy, a total sweetheart who helped me through some awful, awful times in my early teen years. He continued to be sort of a big brother mentor type to me throughout high school. I became a huge fan of Conor’s music and for my 16th birthday, Bright Eyes was playing a local show and my old english teacher (Conor’s brother) arranged for me to go and meet Conor after the show as a birthday present of sorts. Conor definitely took advantage of my teenage crush on him. At first, I was flattered when he was playing with my hair and had his hand on my leg. It was like my dream come true at that point. But then he clearly wanted to go further and I made it very clear and told him I was a virgin and wasn’t prepared to change that right then but he didn’t stop. It was a really fucked up way to realize that people you idolize and look up to so much can be shitty, terrible people. I lost touch with my old english teacher shortly after that incident because of what happened. I didn’t feel comfortable telling him what his brother had done to me and wasn’t confident that he would even believe me anyway. Conor took a lot from me including my virginity, my dignity and self esteem but also the only “father figure” and man I had ever really fully trusted I regret not telling his brother about it now that I’m older because when I look back on things, in hindsight I can see that his brother kind of thought he was a jerk and wasn’t very fond of him and he probably would’ve believed me and been a supportive adult for me to lean on in that situation.