Conor Oberst

UPDATE: Nonesuch says the TMZ report is inaccurate and that Oberst has not been dropped from the label.


Late last year, a commenter on the website XOJane accused Conor Oberst of raping her in 2004, when she was a 16-year-old fan and a virgin. Rather than shrugging off the comment (which was initially posted via a non-anonymous Disqus account before she removed identifying info), Oberst didn’t just respond to the allegations; he filed a federal lawsuit against the commenter, whose name is Joanie Faircloth, when her identity came to light. Faircloth apparently never showed up to a hearing in New York, and now Oberst wants the federal judge to award him the full $1.2 million amount that he named in the lawsuit, as TMZ reports. As justification, Oberst has filed new documents claiming that the comments caused his label to drop him, costing him a contract that would’ve been worth $200,000. (Things get a little confusing here. Oberst was signed to Nonesuch when the comment made the round. The label released his Upside Down Mountain album in May, and its website still lists him as being part of its roster, though I suppose it’s possible that he’s been dropped since the album came out.) Oberst still claims that he plans to donate his winnings to charity.

Comments (9)
  1. Right on. More information came to light about who this woman was, and it wasn’t pretty, so I think it’s safe to say Oberst deserves every penny. A decade ago, this wasn’t as big of a problem in our world, but in this day in age, I think everybody needs better protection on the Internet from people who intend to damage others’ reputations without any truth behind their words. It’s so easy to spread lies about people and there’s unfortunately a lot of people who think that because it’s the Internet, it doesn’t count in real, but try telling that to a potential employer who Googles you and sees some pretty terrible stuff about you written.

  2. Everybody needs protect from people making such false claims. I definitely do not blame Conor for seeking a judgement against this individual. I doubt he would be able to get 1.2 Million from this person. The only thing he would be doing is destroying this person’s life and what are they really going to learn from the experience?

    Not that being called a rapist isn’t damaging or potentially any less destructive. I think in the end he is going to end up spending more money in lawyer fees versus what he will be extracting from this person. It’s evident the person lied given they can’t even come to court. Something needs to be done against this individual. I am just not so sure this is one that will be do any good. Not letting the go off the hook, what about the record label dropping him over an accusation? I hope it all works out where justice is served all the way around.

    On a side note: Another bad thing that comes out of this is such false claims make it more difficult for people who have legitimately been raped to come forward or to be taken seriously – women or males.

    • i think your last paragraph sums up the issue best. i see what you mean that the person’s life will be destroyed & won’t learn anything but the ruling/steep penalty is also meant to demonstrate the severity of such false allegations to the rest of society. It sets a standard that the behavior won’t be tolerated, which in turn strengthens any legal cases of legitimate rape & helps to protect people from defamatory comments in the future.

      thus the “lesson” isn’t so much meant for the accused, but also others who may have potentially tossed around false allegations of (any crime) with no regard for the consequences.

  3. Hopefully he sues you guys as well for spreading the lie. Nice job Stereogum!

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