Bright Eyes Accuser Recants Rape Allegation


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A woman who claimed that Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst raped her a decade ago when she was a teenager revealed that she fabricated the entire story.

Joan Faircloth of Durham, North Carolina first posted an essay entitled It Happened to Me: I Dated a Famous Rock Star & All I Got Was Punched in the Face to the women's lifestyle website XOJane last December. Faircloth wrote that Oberst "took advantage of my teenage crush on him" after she was introduced to him at a concert when she was 16 and he was in his twenties. Faircloth related that "Conor took a lot from me including my virginity, my dignity and self esteem." Faircloth went on to submit statements saying that Oberst's attorneys offered her "hush money" to stop writing about the rape.

Oberst filed a defamation lawsuit against Faircloth in February, asserting that the rape accusation was "republished by countless media outlets around the world, thus further perpetuating the untrue depiction of Oberst as a rapist. ... To add insult to injury, certain media outlets published stories in which Faircloth's defamatory false statements were characterized as true, and in which Oberst's fans were actually encouraged to stop supporting his musical career." A judge issued a default judgement in Oberst's favor in early July. Court records reveal that Faircloth never responded to the lawsuit, which called her a pathological liar, and requested $1 million in damages.

Faircloth sent a notarized letter to Oberst's attorney Monday explaining that "the statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son's illness."

Faircloth added, "I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I'm truly sorry for all the pain that I caused."

Oberst's fans took to Twitter:

Oberst, 34, has yet to respond to the revelation.

The singer-songwriter, who Rolling Stone describes as "a pain-strumming poet of emo," formed Bright Eyes in 1995 in Omaha, Nebraska. The band first achieved wide success in 2002 upon the release of the album Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground.

Here Oberst channels the dream journal of a sullen, yet verbose high school sophomore on "A Perfect Sonnet," from the 1999 album Every Day And Every Night:

Image via Wikimedia Commons