Conor Oberst

UPDATE: AP reports that Oberst filed a defamation suit against the accuser earlier today (2/19):

The suit claims the woman behind the accusations was a liar who made “despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory statements” about Oberst last December.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they were sexually assaulted.

Oberst’s lawsuit says the woman posted accusations that Oberst raped her a decade ago in North Carolina after his brother, her middle school English teacher, introduced the two at an Oberst show. The lawsuit says she also claimed Oberst punched her in the face and that she was 16 at the time.

Oberst, an Omaha, Neb., resident best known for his work with Bright Eyes, is seeking monetary damages, attorney fees and other costs.

He says the media coverage that resulted from the three posts in the comments section of a blog has damaged his career, especially in New York where most of the major music publishing houses are headquartered. He says he was in the company of his brother, bandmates or then-girlfriend at the time of the claims. The suit also says the woman who made positive social media comments about Oberst in the past decade.

TMZ adds that Oberst is suing for over $1 million and claims he never even met the woman.

//

Last month, an anonymous commenter responded to an XOJane article that detailed what it’s like to date an abusive rock star: “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?” Later, she claimed that the rock star in question was Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst and told a harrowing tale about going to meet him backstage 10 years ago, alleging that her English teacher was Oberst’s older brother and that the teacher made an introduction as a 16th birthday present to the commenter. A Tumblr user posted the story a few days ago, and it’s since gone viral. And now Oberst’s publicist has made a public response:

Usually we wouldn’t feel the urge to comment on spurious blog chatter but the recent allegations made about Conor Oberst by an anonymous commenter on the xoJane website are flagrant enough to demand our response. This individual’s accusations are absolutely, unequivocally false. Unfortunately, the internet allows for groundless statements like this to travel the world before the truth has any time to surface. This is a particularly serious and sickening allegation and there is no truth to it. Conor has nothing but abhorrence for the perpetrators of such crimes of sexual violence. The behavior attributed to him by this individual is in direct opposition to his principles. Conor is consulting with a libel attorney regarding this matter.

(via AbsolutePunk)

In her story about the alleged rape, which you can read here, the commenter wrote that she barely told anyone about it at the time, and even her own mother didn’t believe her for years. And she’ll never be able to prove the truth of her story — she doesn’t even seem particularly interested in doing so — but Oberst will almost certainly never be able to prove his own innocence either. Regardless of truth, a story like this can haunt a performer for an entire career; we had internal discussions at Stereogum as to whether we should post the story. But this one, in particular, has virtually no middle ground to it: Either Oberst is the victim of a terrible and malicious trolling hoax, or he’s a titanic criminal scumbag. Also worth noting: The commenter apparently started her own Tumblr to talk about the rape, but she’s since deleted it.

Comments (148)
  1. jesus fucking christ.

    • oh.  |   Posted on Jan 7th +9

      No shit: ” But this one, in particular, has virtually no middle ground to it: Either Oberst is the victim of a terrible and malicious trolling hoax, or he’s a titanic criminal scumbag.”

      Or maybe the truth is somewhere in between, you know, like in a world where everything isn’t black and white.

      • dafs  |   Posted on Jan 7th +9

        Except there really isn’t grey area in this.

        Either Oberst is a rapist, or he isn’t.

      • March 27th 2001 @ Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC : Openning for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

        May 21st 2002 @ Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC (Pre Lifted)

        Sept 23rd 2002 @ Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC (Post Lifted)

        These are the only dates I can find that have the remote possibility of matching up with the accusers story… Which at least establishes a vague timeline…?

        • I guess there was also April 26th 2003 @ Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC (Post Lifted) which would be almost exactly 10yrs but the Lifted tour was a considerably more expansive tour than he had ever done before and the band was getting far more exposure than it had previously seen. To me by this point the accusations become far less likely but you never know?

  2. stop it  |   Posted on Jan 7th -11

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • golum  |   Posted on Jan 7th +10

      “Given enough time, a story like this one (whether true or false) will eventually strike every individual in the public eye.”

      Are you serious? Either you think there are a lot of rapists out there or a lot of false rape allegations. Sheesh.

      • Well I meant stories that defame a popular figure really, would’ve probably explained it better had I been running on more than an hour’s sleep.

        And I would have typed it differently too, Jesus, look at the state of that

    • honlads  |   Posted on Jan 7th +16

      Stop it.

  3. “we had internal discussions at Stereogum as to whether we should post the story. But this one, in particular, has virtually no middle ground to it(…)”

    So don’t post it…

  4. I’d like to remind everyone reading this to remind that it is only an allegation. Please do not rush to judge Conor Oberst until anything other than word-of-mouth of the alleged victim indicates this isn’t just a false accusation.

    • I feel as if it’s almost unfair to the accused to level an accusation like this without ever intending to prove it. Guilty or Innocent, Conor is completely defenseless. It would be so easy to make up a story like this and accuse just about anyone. I could spend 20 minutes on google and turn any semi-popular star into a rapist without ever having to prove anything. The details of this story generally check out, but it’s hard to not be skeptical.

      • swiss  |   Posted on Jan 8th +2

        It may also be unfair to the accuser since it’s not taking her charges seriously – this is a strange article.

        Must say, tho, Conor Oberst’s rsponse is also strange. If he and his handlers feel he is being unjustly accused why didn’t his lawyers ho after her immediately for libel – rather than railing around how he’s shocked — shocked! at these most outrageous accusations!

        • It was roughly six weeks ago, and I’m guessing Oberst doesn’t have an attorney on retainer for things like this. He would have had to go to a lawyer, present everything that had happened, and said lawyer would have had to check and re-check everything before filing suit. It’s a complicated world with a lot of laws, and it takes time to get things right.

          I’m betting it was pretty quick that they started to build the case. This only means the suit went on public record recently.

  5. Isaac Brock all over again, although — as the post says — there’s no middle ground, so who ever really knows (Gut reaction: Given that he doesn’t seem like the type of musician that cares to be gossip fodder, his publicist making a statement on and throwing out the word “libel” sounds seriously pissed and defensive on his part.)

    In my state, we’re fortunate to have many laws now that protect people from Internet libel since it happens too often without repercussions. Not sure of the specifics, but I want to say that if someone writes anything false or damaging about your character three times — be it on a message board, facebook post, comment section — then you have the right to pursue formal legal action against them, even if they don’t live inside the same state as you. You can also file paperwork with authorities before that as well. What’s a huge problem is that many young people and these trolling losers out there honestly believe anything that is written through the Internet doesn’t count in real life nor should it have repercussions. It’s common on less intelligent message boards than this one for people to tell an emotionally fragile person things like “go kill yourself” not realizing that if that person does and there is any trace back to their words instigating it, they’re in deep shit.

    • Isaac Brock all over again? Something like this happened to him? Isaac is one of my all-time music heros… I guess I have to look this up.

  6. Does Conor Oberst really have a brother who was a middle school English teacher?

    • I can’t confirm he’s a middle school English teacher, but this old review points to one of his brothers as a teacher, as does Wikipedia: http://saddle-creek.com/brighteyes/review/1092/

    • plb102  |   Posted on Jan 7th +10

      Took me about 5 mins to find out that Matt Oberst is a middle school writing teacher, I actually ended up at his Linkdin account, so this person knowing that proves nothing.

    • Gmarley  |   Posted on Jan 7th +17

      According to wikipedia, he does have an older brother who is a teacher. This is the part of the story that is kind of weird to me. “Oh it’s your birthday? I’ll take you to a concert where you can meet my brother.” SEEMS kind of like something that would be out of line in teacher-world.

      • Totally. Maybe these days with Facebook it’s more common for teachers to stay in touch with students because it’s so easy, but back in the day it seems a little weird for a male teacher to be in touch with a female student of that age to the point where he is going to her birthday party 2 years after she was out of his class.

      • Very good point. I’d imagine that’s a huge no-no in the educational system for a teacher to meet up with a student outside of class to bring them to an event like that. That just screams bad behavior.

        • Well, your imagination is wrong, and worryingly so.

          Okay, look. I was also in Matt’s class, with the accuser (or so I assume; it was fairly easy to deduce that it was either a specific person or someone posing as her). This was all before facebook existed, so that is beside the point. It’s a small school, and at the time it was an even smaller one. It had a close community around it, and it was not at all uncommon for teachers to be friends with the parents of students and often with the students themselves. Teachers are people, and there is nothing “inappropriate” about them seeing their students outside of class.

          Honestly, I am having to really restrain myself from splurging out all of the surrounding information that I know, because the insinuations you’re making — vague as they are — are so troubling to me, but I won’t because I want to protect people’s privacy. But please just stop it. Even if the accusations against Conor turn out to be true (which I, like you, have no way of knowing), there is absolutely NO evidence that MATT did anything wrong. So STOP IT.

      • In what world is it “out of line” for a teacher to take on a mentor role for a student?

  7. “but Oberst will almost certainly never be able to prove his own innocence either.”

    WHAAATTT? Innocence has to be proven now??????

  8. If he did it, he’s disgusting. If not, commenter is disgusting.

    • Surely his brother can prove/disprove this?

      • Probably best to let this girl press charges before even getting to that point. Til then the brother would probably rather stay out of it and live his life.

        Also, if it is true are you sure he would implicate his brother?

        The whole thing is a clusterfuck, if these allegations are true probably not the best way to come forward.

  9. If he commited this atrocity then he should be ashamed of himself but if she lied, I would love to tear into her on how bad she makes rape survivors (both male and female) look. It’s stuff like this that makes the general public not take us seriously…

    • You’re also assuming that whoever wrote those allegations was in fact, actually a female.

      • byers  |   Posted on Jan 7th +9

        It’s so painfully obvious how this is some neckbeard’s way of garnering e-attention, and then walking away before things take a serious turn (for him).

        It’s like people still don’t know how the internet works. Until proven otherwise by non-internet sources: a) everything is bullshit and b) all who claim to be women are in fact men.

  10. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • plb102  |   Posted on Jan 7th +22

      How can you lecture people about taking rape lightly and then say this girl should be ashamed of herself for not reporting it right away? Don’t a lot of rapes go unreported? It’s a traumatic experience, a lot of people probably opt to just push it from their memory and try to pretend it never happened. Maybe not the right move but it’s understandable.

    • You are a fucking idiot. I’m sorry I can’t be more diplomatic about this. She told her mother when she was younger and wasn’t believed. What part of that story do you think would have made a victim feel they could report to authorities? That’s assuming her own mother didn’t straight up tell her not to. Which happens A LOT to minors who disclose about sexual assault.

      I don’t have to feel pity for an alleged rapist. I feel sorry for the victim here that isn’t being believed and is now having what was probably her worst fear realized: hundreds of slack jawed idiots calling her names on the internet because “OMG she’s crying rape for attention. This happens all the time!”

      False allegations are such a slim percentage of reported assaults. The number of rapes that go unreported dwarves the amount that are falsely reported. The reason why SO many rapes go unreported is EXACTLY because of bullshit like you just spouted off. Victims are confused and hurt and scared and ashamed and then rape apologists like you reinforce all those fears that they won’t be believed. Why would they go get poked, prodded, analyzed and interrogated just to be told they were lying? For a lot of victims they simply shut up, shove it down and then years or decades later find the strength to start talking about what happened to them fully knowing they will never see justice.

      You are what is wrong with this world. You are the embodiment of rape culture. How fucking dare you.

      • eiram  |   Posted on Jan 7th +6

        THANK YOU Daniella Cortez Alvarez .

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • I don’t understand how you can COMPLETELY rule out the allegation, and also think that what PROBABLY happened is some other scenario that is possible because you can imagine it.

        • I’m on the internet defending victims in general. I’m defending the right for a victim to tell their story and be believed and not mocked and ridiculed by strangers. I’m defending the voice of victims everywhere. I don’t know if this particular person is telling the truth. I don’t know if Oberst raped her or not. I have no idea, what I do know is that if someone says they were assaulted, I’m going to listen. I’m going to be someone who will hear them out. If they’re lying or making it up, that’s on them and the truth usually comes out one way or another. But I’m not going to be another voice in the crowd showing ALL victims everywhere that people will not believe them.

          This kind of bullshit is exactly why people don’t report when it happens. I’ve spent years working as an advocate for sexual assault victims by the way, I’m also no stranger to rape thank you very fucking much. I’ve spent years on the front lines as a first responder to allegations of sexual assault. I’ve gotten pretty good at picking out the bullshit accusations from truth.

          I’m anything but thick and I am sure as shit not laughing about rape. I’d just prefer to take the victim as seriously as you seem to want to take the bruised ego of the accused.

          Also, who in the sweet motherfuck would decide to allege rape against a mostly underground indie rock darling simply because they didn’t like his music? I don’t like Justin Beiber but I’m not accusing him of anything. And I’d have a shit ton more to gain from a higher profile accusation like that than some dude who makes his living singing to small crowds in dirty bars. I like Conor Obersts music. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to one of his songs. I quite frankly don’t want this to be true at all, but I will continue to stand up to bullies like you who want to shit all over the mere concept that a rock star could possibly hurt someone.

          You are setting an example to everyone who reads your shitty statements that it’s okay to undermine the credibility of a victim. Did that thought ever pass through your thick little head? Or are you too busy fanning the flames of your own self righteousness to comprehend human suffering and how your words could affect a victim reading them?

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • “Use your brain before you talk. Better yet, go unplug the Ethernet cable from the back of your computer and then go think long and hard about how stupid you are to believe such a idiot story”

          Such a dope concluding statement.

        • “This is not a laughing matter. This is not a joke.”

          No one is laughing. There have been no jokes. You’re looking for Gawker.com

        • I cannot easily articulate how short-sighted your argument is- although I have to give it to you, you’ve done a hell of a job of being callous and presumptuous.

          You are the embodiment of rape culture because you are attempting to completely discredit this woman’s accusations without having a single reason to doubt her. The fact is that this situation could have played out a couple of different ways- either the girl was indeed raped, then told her mother and wasn’t believed, so she pushed it down and tried to live with it until she gained the strength to tell her story- OR the girl was not raped and is making this entire thing up for attention. Either situation is entirely plausible.

          The problem with people like you is that you don’t seem to give a damn about the possibility of her accusations being legitimate. You give Daniella such shit because she’s defending someone she doesn’t know, something she knows nothing about, when you are literally doing the exact same thing. Conor could have plausibly raped her, and you would arguably be the biggest asshole in the world for adamantly claiming that he didn’t.

          What pisses me off the most about you is that you claim to have an intimate understanding of the psychology of a rape victim, but illustrate ZERO understanding. If you were as knowledgeable as you claim, you would have no problem reconciling the ten years it took for her to say something about it- same for the anonymity.

          If you were a young girl who was raped, then told your mother and was not believed, you would almost positively not go to the police without your the support of your parents. You would suppress it, and it would starting eating at you until you couldn’t stand to keep it a secret any longer. I can speak to this first-hand, having spent a good deal of my life in a relationship with a woman in an IDENTICAL SITUATION to what’s being discussed in the thread.

          TLDR;
          Fuck you, dude. You’re an ignorant and callous dick, and illustrate a very poor understanding of the psycho-sociological effects of rape.

      • You’re acting like this is an acusation coming from a tangible person whose credibility you can actually gauge. It’s an anonymous posting in a comments section of some website. This is the internet..do you have any idea how many bullshit stories are tossed around as reality every day in here? Half of the stories on reddit are bullshit. (Obviously hyperbole but the point remains.) I could literally post a comment here pretending to be another girl who claims to have been raped by Conor Oberst and people like you would blindly believe it and continue to add flame to the fire. Hell, I’m sure someone WILL do that. This is why we have courts. And laws. And trials. Because you can’t just jump to judge someone because of a completely baseless accusation. It doesn’t matter how sincere it sounds, until this matter goes to court we should all just shut our damn mouths and withold our judgements. So put away your pitchforks and don’t go burning your bright eyes records until we have a good reason to. Because what we have here is an anonmymous accusation on the internet with absolutley no hard facts or evidence, and while we should most certainly take every accusation of rape as seriously as possible, it is also equally important that we respect the justice system and due process and that we do not condemn someone for a crime without any evidence.

      • Where’s the ‘downvote off your high horse’ button when you need one? How dare there not be one.

    • I try to not make ad hominem attacks on the internet, but I’d have no hesitation in saying the following to your face:

      Yeah, you’re a fucking idiot.

    • I mean, it could have happened. We shouldn’t immediately discount her story just as much as we shouldn’t immediately condemn Conor Oberst.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • Actually, one is not more likely than the other. They are equally likely.

        • You’re being weirdly aggressive about all of this. You acknowledge that it could have happened, but then go spouting off all over the comment section about how certain you are that this is a false allegation.

          I think this situation calls for a lot more sensitivity than you’re showing. You may not want to hear it now, but I think at some point you’ll step back, realize how much you over-invested yourself in defending a celebrity on the internet, and conclude that you were being kind of an ass.

        • I was disagreeing with you…

      • And that’s the problem. On one hand, you don’t want to feed into a defense of “rape culture”; on the other, you don’t want to downplay the importance of constitutional protections. In my mind, that makes it virtually impossible to take a stance – basically I just pity everyone involved.

    • Interesting that you got 12 likes (and counting) by posting the same thoughts on Stereogum’s facebook link to this story, and yet here you get a -13 a the dubious honor of being a “fucking idiot.” Not sure how to read into that.

  11. It looks like the comments that actually identified Oberst have been deleted, but the first one is still there. Not sure what that might mean, but I thought I’d point it out.

    • Noticed that alright. Could it be that the commenter got worried about the seriousness of libel? This is purely speculation on my part, of course.

  12. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  13. The article should be called “Conor Oberst’s publicist responds to anonymous rape allegations”.

  14. “we had internal discussions at Stereogum as to whether we should post the story”

    yet probably zero discussions concerning whether to post anything further about r kelly, apparently

    • Stereogum
      > Promotes confirmed serial sexual abuser and borderline pedophile. Doesn’t report his documented history of sexual abuses.
      > Posts story about guy accused of rape with no evidence.

  15. eiram  |   Posted on Jan 7th -2

    I will never understand what people think anyone has to gain by coming out as a survivor/identifying their rapist considering the world we live in aka the patriarchy, rape culture and victim blaming. Essentially all you get is stigma and negative attention, save the 5% of feminists with enough guts to believe you. Which is why most rape allegations are true.

  16. Based on the story it sounds like this happened in 2003, and she claims he wasn’t even famous at that point. Wasn’t 2003 right around when Bright Eyes was blowing up?

    • I was in high school back then too, and even though Bright Eyes was blowing up, almost no one at my school had heard of them. I had no idea they were actually famous until I went to a show…. so it makes sense that she would say they weren’t even that famous.

      • I’m also desperately hoping this whole thing is bullshit, but I unfortunately can see how it could possibly be true…

        • I was a junior in high school in ’03. Brights Eyes was surprisingly popular among the emo subset at my high school, even though they didn’t really sound like a lot of the other bands those guys listened to.

  17. It’s disgraceful that you’ve posted this allegation. There’s no evidence, no police investigation, no charges. You’re just doing it for internet traffic. You owe Coner Oberst an apology.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  18. I always get depressed by social media/comment section responses to these sorts of rape allegations. As a lot of people have stated, there’s likely no real middle ground here – either one of the parties is a rapist, or one of the parties is a liar. But I just feel like when there’s a notable lack of evidence that gives credence to either party’s account of what happened, people are way too quick to grasp at straws in order to build up one side. Corroborating that Connor Oberst has a middle school teacher for a brother, or noting that the alleged victim took down some of her posts, don’t really do a whole lot to bolster either’s case.

    I’ve got no problem with speculation when you’re dealing with something fun like album release dates or pro sports trades, but when you’re dealing a powder keg like an alleged rape, I think you’ve got to be a bit more sensitive. Either a victim is going to live her whole life knowing that she was seriously hurt by someone who will likely never face any sort of legal or financial penalty, or an innocent man is gonna get dogged his whole career for something he never did. I feel like the the least I can do for the innocent party is not play the part of public opinion judge.

    • I’ll start off by saying I completely agree.

      But…

      I’m just afraid this whole thing will blow over and we’ll never know the truth and I won’t know what to do with the fact I own every Bright Eyes album. Maybe it’s selfish of me to feel like I have a personal stake in the truth of the matter, but his music played a HUGE role in my formative years, and it would suck to find out that he could be this shitty of a human being.

      And if we’re not trying to piece it together from what little information we have, what form do you think the conversation should take? I think this ordeal warrants discourse; it certainly shouldn’t just be ignored given how serious the allegations are. If we don’t talk about it, then it WILL blow over and either Conor or this commenter will have gotten away with something truly awful.

      So I’m gossiping out of frustration. I think you’re completely right. But I’m probably still going to gossip out of frustration.

      • No, I get you. I haven’t listened to anything by Connor Oberst since his first solo album (which I thought was quite good). I imagine I’d be much more engaged in wanting a definitive answer if I felt like I could potentially be supporting a really terrible guy, or missing out on some great stuff because of a moral stance based on false accusations.

        Still, I do think, at the very least, you (a general “you,” not you specifically) can temper your tone. You don’t need to call the victim a lying attention whore. You don’t need to call Connor Oberst the face of rape culture. I’m just perplexed by some of the stronger reactions I’ve seen, and that was largely where I was coming from – when you’re working with a lot of speculation and very little fact, you probably should refrain from wholesale pronouncements on one’s character.

      • I agree. But with this out there I’m actually not sure I can listen to his songs the same way again. Especially when some of my favorites are so intimate.

      • You should destroy all your Bright Eyes records regardless of whether he’s a rapist.

      • “I’m just afraid this whole thing will blow over and we’ll never know the truth and I won’t know what to do with the fact I own every Bright Eyes album. ”

        You should try to let go of this notion. Your feeling that you need to know the truth or have *any* stake in it at all is an entitlement that doesn’t actually exist.

        • Yeah I know. I mean, I don’t even believe in capital “T” Truth… though I’m not sure if that’s what you’re getting at.

          Obviously my life will not be directly affected in the least bit compared to the the effect this is having on this young woman, or Conor Oberst if the allegations are false.

          And I wouldn’t say I feel entitled to the truth, but I would really like to know the facts for my own frame of reference.

          All I’m saying is Bright Eyes was a HUGE part of my teens/early-20s, and therefore is a significant part of the person I am now given the amount of growing that takes place during those impressionable years. So when this story breaks, it feels personal because I have felt personally connected to his music. Maybe it’s ridiculous, because a song is a song is a song, and I can’t take back the role that the songs played in my life. But I think I might want to discount the role Bright Eyes played in my life if it turns out he’s a rapist.

          I’ll use a more universal example, though I don’t know how you feel about NMH. What if we found out Jeff Mangum is a pedophile, and all the Anne Frank stuff he wrote was because he actually wanted to bang her because he likes to bang children? Aeroplane Over the Sea would lose every ounce of its magic. That’s kind of how I would feel if I found out “Lover I Don’t Have To Love” is kind of a rapey song because it was written by a rapist, though it’s not really a solid analogy because I kind of always hated that song.

    • Thank you, Derrick, for saying something so thoughtful.

  19. Why would she even bring up the story if she didn’t want to validate the truth of it? It sounds like this person wanted to try and become internet famous and try and ruin someone’s career. If there was any validity of this story she would most definitely want to bring this to trial, but it sounds as though she’s not even interested in that. I can’t see how this story can hold up. Anyone can make up a fake story about an artist, such as the story about the guy who saw Flying Lotus trying to steal Milky Ways. Albeit the Flying Lotus story is hilarious, but when someone brings up sex crimes in a story that was most likely fabricated it’s an absolute scumbag move.

  20. I can’t even process this.

  21. This an error in this article, the commenter wasn’t anonymous when they left their comments.

    —————–
    FYI I deleted my comments on XOJANE because they were made with my actual Disquis account which clearly stated my name, state and other identifying information about my kids, etc. Shortly after making the comments, someone was able to track me down on facebook which was too close for comfort tbh. My main concern and first priority over anything is the safety of my family, point blank.

    The comments were not anonymous in the beginning. I just wanted to clarify on that.
    ———

    via http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:p56QooC6uEUJ:xojanecommenter.tumblr.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk

  22. How would this work legally? If the commenter is anonymous or deleted the comments, can they actually track the person down and sue them? How would either side even be able to prove or disprove anything? Or would XOJANE be in trouble? What a mess.

    • With libel, yeah, there’s generally a broad definition for who qualifies as a “publisher”: the original poster, the hosting website, and people who re-post the material. Blogs, message boards, etc. have been found to be responsible for removing libelous material.

      A few wrinkles, though – first, many jurisdictions require the offended party to request a retraction before they go after the publisher for libel – otherwise, they can only seek nominal fees (although I really doubt Connor and his attorney’s are motivated by money in this case).

      Second, there are different levels of “ill intent” required for libel, depending on whether or not the offended party is a private (negligence) or public figure (malice). Connor is most definitely a public figure. In the instance that the accuser is lying, she would be found to have actual malice and would be liable. However, bloggers, Tumblr users, etc. that believed her account, however, would not have actual malince and would not be in trouble.

      Beyond that, I really don’t know. I’m an attorney, but that’s literally all I had to learn about libel for the bar exam.

  23. I call BS. This commenter made the rape out like it was nothing, which is further reinforced by the fact that she deleted the comments. People try to make up all kinds of things on the internet for attention. Also, as many have pointed out, if what happened was true, it’s really weird behavior on the brother’s front. Taking a student out to see a somewhat well known musician that just so happens to be the teachers brother is obvious favoritism, and pretty creepy too.

  24. At first i was super stoked about it, but then i thought a bit more… saw that parking ticket i have to pay and all the shit i have to do and came to the conclusion that until more information is gathered i don’t see why i should remotely care about this.

    At this point it’s all conjectures, it’s rather pointless to talk about it.

  25. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • this is a music news site bud. It really shouldn’t be that shocking to you that a music news site is reporting on an very important happening in the world of music. If his publicity team issued a statement then it’s worth writing an article on. If this article had been based purely on a tumblr post I would agree with you, but seeing as Conor has addressed it I think it’s fair game to report.

  26. These type of things always stress me out. I have to force myself into refusing to take sides in matters like this or feel sympathy for either party until things become less muddled. I would feel horrible knowing I defended a disgusting rapist who has no regards for other peoples lives, or a disgusting liar who has no regards for other peoples lives. Either way, one of these people is awful but there’s no way in hell any of us should try decide which one it is before we get some concrete facts.

    • This. No-one likes living with uncertainty/ambiguity – it’s just so much easier to pick a side and then feel all righteous about it.

    • Nicely put street hassle. On a broader scale I always get stressed out with these moral dilemma’s regarding the music I like.

  27. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  28. honlads  |   Posted on Jan 7th +11

    Society:

  29. 2 things: 1, if sg was journalism, wouldn’t they research things like who the brother/teacher were, the tour dates around this time, report on the popularity (record sales, venue sizes), and request interviews with the parties or at least try and maybe say “did not respond to requests for comment” – if sg doesn’t report information like this they aren’t really journalism (are they?) they’re just “reporting” it “Regardless of truth… we had internal discussions at Stereogum as to whether we should post the story.” (“internal discussions” implies to me some semblance of at least editorialism if not journalism) …
    2, the notion that there is “virtually no middle ground” doesn’t quite make sense to me in this case. yes, i agree rape is rape, no is no, and survivors often do not come forward for many years. but from what little information there seems to be here, there seems to be actually a great deal of gray area, for instance, what exactly is the accusation? (not to belittle rape but it is often used quite broadly) not to mention, this incident is filtered through a decade of memory? whether it is a traumatic event or not memory is not concrete and if it is not supported by contextual information it is nothing more than a thought… now that’s not to say that a rape did not occur, i’m just suggesting that there is perhaps more of a gray area here than the sg staff suggests and that that gray area could be cleared up with actual research, reporting, interviewing, etc. (which frankly doesn’t a serious accusation such as this deserve? because it seems to me that if we just perpetuate a story like this without looking closely at it, we are not disassembling rape culture, we are inadvertently furthering it)

  30. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  31. Wow. I missed a day and I come back to this. I don’t go around describing myself as a feminist, and these issues aren’t like the main thing I go around worrying about. However, I just read every comment on this page, and I’m here to tell you people, rape culture is real and a lot of you people are a part of it, whether you know it or not.

    Rape is depressingly common. Attacking people who claim to have been raped is depressingly common. Attacking people who claim to have been raped by celebrities is like America’s national pass time.

    Knowing something about the obstacles rape victims face in reporting rape and that false accusations of rape are extremely uncommon, I found the accusers story, and the timing and manner in which she told the story, to be plausible. She did not make the accusations anonymously (despite that having been widely reported), and I find people’s theories about what would have motivated her to make a false accusation rather implausible.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Really? You were on the fence and that’s what put you over the edge?

        • Oh give me a break. Being skeptical of a rape claim made over the internet downs’t make us a part of “rape culture”.

          • No, I don’t think being skeptical is wrong. If you read the woman’s story and you don’t buy it, then fine. We all have different experiences that we rely on to gage veracity. If you were on a jury that would matter. What’s wrong and what some people have been doing is perpetuating the myth that the world is filled with women who are looking for an excuse to make fake rape allegations. It’s not. If this woman is lying, she is in an extreme minority.

      • Wait. That was your first comment on Stereogum ever? You created a screen name just to point out that I typed pass time instead of pastime? Conor, is that you?

      • You got it wrong too. Jackass.

        • Nope, I got it wrong. I’d have sworn it has two Ts in it, but no.

          Anyway, point remains–I wasn’t actually calling you out on your spelling, I was suggesting that taking someone’s thoughtfully composed statement and saying effectively, “I was with you until I caught the spelling error” is a juvenile, churlish thing to do.

          Jackass.

          • To that I’d argue that it wasn’t so thoughtfully composed if it contains Biff Tannen-esque mistakes. Now make like a tree and get out of here.

          • It’s true. Ignore every comment I ever posted. I’m nothin’ but a meat head. Or is that meathead? Oh, my brains hurts!!

  32. This is shitty

  33. this is bullshit.

  34. I was entirely on the fence about this when it first came out, because even though I’ve been a huge fan of Conor Oberst, the story was pretty convincing, and rape is an inexcusable crime. I was going to wait for more information.
    The thing is, though, people were able to track who the commenter was, because her name appeared at first before she changed it to anonymous. Her Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube pages all indicate that she is still a huge fan of Conor Oberst’s music. She even commented on Facebook once saying that she listened to Bright Eyes with her son every night. And now, she may have a strange way of dealing with things, but it seems to me like being raped by a musician would make it painful to listen to his music after that, much less expose your child to it.
    I also want to point out how many people are throwing around the “5% of rape accusations are false” statistic. The percentage is 5, not 0. False rape accusations exist, and in addition, rape is a really awful thing to accuse someone of.
    And lastly, I want everyone to visit http://www.justiceforconoroberst.tumblr.com. This is another anon, but her story is really interesting, and also quite convincing.

  35. I’d like to point out that the Tumblr from whence this story came has subsequently been scrubbed, and now only says, “tricked ya” when you click the link. So… possible hoax?

  36. the only story I can read talks about physical abuse and not rape. is there another story?

  37. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  38. I’m pretty sure Scott Gallagher is the only person getting raped here.

  39. People who are proven to have falsely accused an innocent person are worse than predators and deserve the same prison sentence that a convicted predator would receive!

    • erc  |   Posted on Feb 19th +1

      That… is completely not true. Like in any way. Libel can be terrible for the damage it can do, but actual rape is so much more damaging and horrible. To say a rapist should be punished the same as a liar is completely off-base and flat out wrong.

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