Conor Oberst filed a libel lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday stating he was defamed by a fan who wrote online posts stating she was sexually assaulted by the songwriter in 2003.
According to the Associated Press, Oberst’s attorney filed the lawsuit based on claims made in the comment section of an XOJane.com article “It Happened To Me: I Dated a Famous Rockstar & All I Got Was Punched in the Face,” which was written last December. She said Oberst assaulted her a decade ago after Oberst’s brother—her middle school English teacher—introduced the two at a show in North Carolina.
The lawsuit said the media coverage resulting from the posts has damaged Oberst’s music career and that the woman made “despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory statements” about him.
Oberst said he’d never met her and that she’d written positive things about Oberst and Bright Eyes on social media in the past decade—as recently as January 2013.
According to TMZ, he’s suing for more than $1 million in damages. In his statement, Oberst said all proceeds from the lawsuit will go to charities for victims of domestic violence.
Here’s a copy of the statement released by Oberst’s publicist:
Today Conor Oberst filed a libel lawsuit in a New York federal court against [a woman] 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 [her] 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 [the woman] 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 [her] 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 [she] 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.
Oberst’s new solo album, Upside Down Mountain, is set for a May release.