Conor Oberst

Last year, Joanie Faircloth, commenting on an article on the website XOJane, accused Conor Oberst of raping her in 2004, when she was 16. Oberst issued a statement denying the claim, filed a libel lawsuit against her, and, when she didn’t show up to a hearing, sought a $1.2 million judgment against her, filing documents that suggested his career had been significantly damaged by the allegations. In fact, Faircloth had never done anything to defend herself against the lawsuit, and she hadn’t responded to Oberst’s lawyers when they contacted her. Today, though, she released a notarized statement that she made the whole story up. Here’s what she wrote:

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. 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.

(via Buzzfeed)

Hopefully, we can now put that whole sad, strange story to bed. What a mess.

UPDATE: Oberst has released a statement accepting Faircloth’s apology.

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Comments (73)
  1. marko  |   Posted on Jul 14th +37

    Fuck her.

    No wait, that came out wrong.

  2. This is a tremendously sad story for so many reasons now.

  3. Glad the allegations turned out to be false, but incredibly sad and frustrating that the allegations were made at all, what a destructive force for actual victims of rape.

  4. Gelth  |   Posted on Jul 14th +23

    i’m really glad this happened. i honestly hope she’s made an example of. just like rape is an awful thing, accusing people of it for your own gain, whatever that gain may be, is awful as well.

  5. please remember not to extrapolate too much from the conor oberst thing. ‘a woman lied’ does not = ‘women are liars’

  6. It’s disgusting how many people are stating (not insinuating, stating, as if they actually knew) that he paid her off. I mean, there’s no evidence of the act, there’s testimonies of people who know the woman and say she’s got a history of lying, and people still won’t give up the witch hunt. Some girl in Pitch4k said something along the lines of “I always believe the victim”, completely ignoring that, for all the legal system knows, Conor is the victim here. Kinda scary when you think about it, not only do rape accusations hover above men’s heads like a menacing cloud all the time, but it also does no good to potential victims.

    • I agree with you, but the notion that “rape accusations hover over men’s like a menacing cloud all the time” doesn’t seem like much to be considering that you know, the potential of actually being raped hangs over women all the time.

      I completely agree with you and think that Conor is the real victim here and find it idiotic that people claim she was pressured into doing this, but just because a famous musician we happen to love was accused of rape doesn’t mean that false accusations are a huge and unstoppable force… it’s just disgusting that a false accusation (with pretty much no evidence that the two even met) could get such huge coverage.

      • Of course it doesn’t seem like much, and I agree, priority #1 should be to protect victims —females first of all, since they are more vulnerable. But, you know, I have to go through life being a man, and instances like this are very disturbing to me. They show that any man (even a beloved man, with a clean reputation) can be accused of rape out of the blue and instantly be damned by a good portion of society, even to the point of having his job endangered before any evidence has been presented. I know this is not the main issue to be resolved within the whole Rape spectrum, not by a long shot, but it’s one my gender involves me in, and damn, it seems heavy sometimes.

        • I agree, I think it is its own issue worth mentioning. And that doesn’t take away from the fact that women have to deal more with rape.

  7. This is why the whole “I Believe Her” thing pisses me off. You get tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion the instant an accusation is made.

  8. What a relief. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my room looping “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” my least favorite Bright Eyes song, because now I can say to myself with confidence that it isn’t rapey.

  9. this whole story is sad.

    Stereogum and P4k jumped on this case and posted the girls comments, based on no evidence, when it first happened.

    based off an anonymous poster on a website!

    Conor was dropped from his label and has no doubt had some major consequences from this.

    Now the girl admits she lied.

    Moral of the story: Don’t post accusations this serious until there is more evidence than a nameless anon poster!

    Conor is innocent. Plain and simple

    • We only reported on it after Conor Oberst made a statement. Also, she didn’t post anonymously — she removed the identifying info from her profile after it started getting attention.

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

        • You’re not making sense.

        • Stereogum isn’t the reason her allegations were taken seriously. If Stereogum was a 24-hour news network on cable that devoted a bunch of segments to “Conor Oberst: The Rapist Story”, you would have a point. Yeah, they perpetuated the speculation that perhaps there might be truth to Joanie Faircloth’s story by considering it newsworthy, but as I look back at their articles, I find it hard to see any motive behind their coverage other than, “Yo, this is happening in the news; we should write a little bit about it.” Perhaps you’re right in thinking they’re at fault for considering it newsworthy, but only hindsight bias would inform that opinion.

  10. What a jerk.

  11. Its disturbing how little the media investigated the claims. Sadly even with this Conor will ALWAYS be looked at differently. Every girl he meets will have it in the back of their head “is this guy a rapist who got away with it?”

    From all Ive heard about fan encounters with Conor, he seems down to earth, kind and very nice.

    The media who perpetuated this hoax, including Stereogum,should be ashamed of themselves.

  12. Honestly I feel like something like this warrants jail time for her. She could have destroyed Conor’s career, ruined his public image, landed him in legal trouble, and last but not least this kind of bullshit is why real rape accusations are sometimes doubted. I’m not gonna come right out and call her a human piece of shit, but if a piece of shit were human it would probably publicly accuse celebrities of rape for attention.

    • she already caused him damaged. he was dropped from his label because of this. She caused MAJOR problems

    • I would agree with you, but what about the rape victim who makes the accusation, but has no way to prove it? would there be jail time in store for that person?

      • No, if there’s no proof of anything then no one is charged. This asshole publicly admitted that she lied and threw an accusation at Conor that will affect how some people look at him for the rest of his in the name of getting attention. I don’t know, I just feel like something this serious going unpunished would be absurd.

        • yeah, I see what you mean

        • Then there would be no motivation for a false-accuser to ever admit to lying.

          • Well yeah but ideally the truth eventually comes out. Like if the accusation ends up being proven true the rapist is punished, and if the accusation turns out to be a lie then the accuser is punished. I want to make it clear I have next to no knowledge on the laws surrounding these kind of things so for all I know I could be describing a system that is more or less already in place.

    • I wish I could agree with you but the thought that accusers of rape could face jail time would only make women who really are victims of sexual abuse even more hesitant to report them. I’m sure a libel lawsuit and financial ruin for her would have been more than enough…

  13. I really could have forgiven her for the initial attention-seeking post on XOJane, but the fact that she kept going with it creating a tumblr with more lies, and even briefly tried to be a poster child for rape victims makes her a super terrible person. I’m not even saying this because I happen to be a Conor fan, but because of the damage she is doing to actual rape victims/survivors who may be reluctant to tell their stories because of a culture that is already too incredulous. It’s unfortunate that this is a high-profile story, because it rarely happens, and now dudes who don’t know anything about sexual violence are going to use it as a frame of reference the next time they hear rape allegations because they are fucking idiots. And take it from me, I’ve been to many shows and most of Conor Oberst’s fans are fucking idiots.

    • its more than that. the story shouldn’t have even been news. If evidence proved Conor was guilty, then fine. We go from there. But, the whole story essentially was a girl posts some comment on a website and Conor is now an accused rapist. Thats absurd.

      The media, including the site we are on, did Conor and everyone a disservice, by posting the accusation as if it had some basis in fact.

      Theres rumors every single day about musicians this website covers. Doesn’t mean they should post those those.

      As I said, Conor forever will carry that stigma around, all because some girl posted a baseless rumor on a site.

      • I 92.78% agree with you.

        Even though I’ve been complaining about Stereogum jumping the shark lately, they didn’t pick up this story until it had already gained traction elsewhere, and from that point they were reporting on a story that was already a story on the rest of the internet for the sole reason that it was relevant to “indie news.” I really don’t blame them for following it. I was following it, and Stereogum was one of my sources.

        I agree that one internet comment shouldn’t have blown up to the proportion that this has, but I am also not going to ever dismiss someone claiming she was raped as someone who is merely seeking attention, even though Joanie Faircloth clearly made these allegations because she was seeking attention. Our attitudes towards rape and sexual abuse have historically been so incredulous and dismissive that I almost see it as a good sign we took this one somewhat seriously.

        I guess I 92.78% agree with you because rumors, especially internet rumors, should never qualify as “news”. However, the topic of rape carries so much weight to it, historically speaking, that I find myself not assigning a whole lot of blame on the media for holding an attitude that takes it seriously.

        Mr. Scott Lapatine, I berated you on here a couple weeks ago, but let the record show I’m defending you now.

        And Joanna Newsom raped me in 2005, you guys.

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

          • They didn’t post it as “verified news.”

          • Stereogum has always seemed to handle the story very cautiously, they didn’t simply jump on to condemn Oberst with rape without evidence, they simply reported on the escalating accusation. If I recall, they even expressed hope that the allegations were false.

  14. I’m just about the least litigious guy you’d ever want to meet.

    That being said….I would sue this woman until I owned her f’ing shoes.

  15. She should be punished, just like Conor would have been had he been guilty. You can’t slander someone or accuse them of something serious like rape and be lying.

  16. I guess this is a “happy” ending to this story, all things considered.

    Personally, I’d prefer it if the media (Stereogum included) hadn’t taken it upon themselves to report anonymous internet chatter as news in the first place. At least two people’s lives would be significantly less miserable today.

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

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

          • We posted about this story only after Conor Oberst released a statement, and we were not the first nor the last to run that statement.

            Conor Oberst was not dropped from his label, incidentally.

            You’re being irrational, though, and I think I may be getting trolled.

            Also please comment with your regular Stereogum account — I see you created a new fake identity just to comment on this post.

          • “Conor was dropped by a label because Stereogum was irresponsible.”

            Oh shit. Really? No way. Oh man. FUCK STEREOGUM.

        • I apologize — you’re absolutely right.

          I (mistakenly) remembered reading about it here first.

      • He wasn’t dropped from the label, just for the record. That seems to have been some kind of misunderstanding. Apparently his sales have not been great lately, but in 2014 I’m not sure that can be blamed squarely on this.

        In any case, I don’t care about the financial implications. It’s an awful thing to be tarred with this type of accusation, particularly in the age of the global internet rumor mill.

        I put happy in scare quotes, obviously, because this story can’t have a happy ending. I just meant it’s a good thing the accuser decided to retract instead of letting the question linger forever. I’m assuming she did so as part of a settlement agreement, which means this woman probably won’t be going to the poorhouse in a libel suit. You may think she deserves to lose the money, but she has a kid whose life must be pretty difficult as it is, and I really don’t think removing his livelihood would fix anything.

  17. Love reading all the Internet boldness of people saying “I’d sue them” about a person who very clearly has tremendous problems in their own personal life.

    • Almost every transgressor has a reason for what they did. Serial killers usually have pretty horrific stories of childhood abuse. Do people not have a right to be angry, not just for the direct damage she did to Connor, but the indirect damage to future rape victims accused of crying wolf?

      • They have a right to be angry, but saying what they would do in a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with them is asinine.

    • Jared,

      I’m one of the ones who said exactly that. (see above post). And I 100% stand behind it. And although it is admittedly easy to make these claims in this forum I would absolutely sue her blind if I was in his shoes.
      And it has nothing to do with money. Rape is the one charge that has reached the point where if the accusation comes out the accused is deemed guilty immediately. It’s sickening. I don’t need to go into detail about what a horrific act rape is. To levy this charge against another person without cause is equally damning. Drag her ass through the court system. Make a public f’ing spectable of it. So the next time some evil jackass even THINKS about pulling this sh!t he/she/it might think twice.

      • I agree 100% with the sentiment of wanting something to happen here to make false accusers less likely to accuse. But doesn’t this present the same conundrum of jail time or some other sort of punishment?

        Would dragging her ass through the court system make someone who was actually raped less likely to come forward about it because they’re afraid they won’t have sufficient evidence to prove anything and then could also have their ass dragged through the court system?

        • Genuinely valid point that I hadn’t considered. I think my little pea brain wants this to be a very simple black and white issue and obviously it’s not. And then there’s the part of forgiving those that have trespassed against us…..and being the bigger man……and……damn, this really, really sucks.

        • That’s exactly what makes this whole situations so damaging and tragic. How do we encourage victims to come forward, while also discouraging (and punishing?) false accusations? Some seem to want to say that we shouldn’t be worried about the falsely accused, but the thing is, to be falsely accused of rape is so terrible because we believe rape is so terrible! No easy answer.

      • Filing a false police report is already a crime.

        Thing is, this woman didn’t file a false report. She said something false in public, which makes it a civil issue rather than a criminal one. Oberst has already filed a libel suit.

        Not sure what else people expect to see done.

  18. Am I the only one kinda upset about her accusations and then her admittance of lying? As a rape victim myself, I feel that she undermines the whole validity of someone who is actually raped. Rape is not something that should be taken lightly, whether it is in making claims or the physical act itself. Shame on her for lying about something so serious.

    For those who need help or want to learn more about rape, sexual assault, etc Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is an excellent organization to turn to. https://rainn.org

  19. This is such a terrible mess. I have a friend whose daughter accused a family member of rape. It was scary and everyone felt they were required to draw lines, even though the story was iffy. Without going into full details, her story was full of questionable information, so while we wanted to support her, we couldn’t help but wonder. In the end, she revealed the whole thing was a lie and it became apparent thereafter it was a symptom of a much larger problem. She got into even bigger trouble not long after, though she began going to therapy and taking medication and has since gotten her life together. Still, I have to wonder about her, as it is scary to think anyone could be accused by her regardless of their innocence.

    Rape isn’t something to joke about, and I do believe that if someone accuses another of rape, it should be taken very seriously. A terrible event like this should not change that. But I do think all the facts must be considered before we damn someone for these things, especially when the evidence simply doesn’t add up.

    I’m glad she came out and admitted it was a lie, though this is the kind of thing that will probably continue to destroy her life along with Oberst’s. As everyone has noted, many will never believe Oberst’s innocence, though just as many will never believe anything Faircloth ever says again. The problem with this is Faircloth wasn’t her real name and her true identity and appearance aren’t widely known, whereas Oberst is a walking target.

    Whether you’re a woman or a man, rape is a terrible thing and must be taken seriously. Damn Faircloth for ruining someone else’s life and potentially damaging the credibility of those actually abused, regardless of her circumstances, but don’t take her misdoings as a justification to negate claims of rape or other abuses. We must take them just as seriously as ever, though we also have to be ready to ask the tough questions when issues arise. It’s a slippery slope, but the only way to deal with it is to do it right. That’s vague as hell, but saying we have to consider all the facts sounds terrible to others regardless if it’s true. Events like this make it clear how difficult these things get and why there has to be a better way to handle terrible acts and accusations like this, as well as why we need to find a way to break the stigma and shame that rape and abuse victims feel that keeps them from letting people know when they do need support.

  20. I love it when a post comes along (like the one from unheard78 above) that absolutely caps off a thread.
    Cuz this one is done. Well said

  21. #notallwomen

  22. I’m gonna sit this one out. All the important points surrounding this story have been made already, anyway.

  23. “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
    No bad press and all that…

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