Soundgarden Ask Court To Make Chris Cornell’s Widow Relinquish Their Social Media Accounts
There’s a new development in the messy legal dispute between Chris Cornell’s widow and his surviving Soundgarden bandmates. When we last checked in, Vicky Cornell had sued the band. The occasion for the lawsuit: Soundgarden had offered her $300,000 for her husband’s share of their masters after allegedly being offered $16 million from an investor for the rights to their catalog. Now, the band is raising its own new complaint against Cornell in court.
As Billboard reports, Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd and business manager Rit Venerus filed papers in Washington state US District Court on March 25 alleging that Cornell had changed locked them out of the band’s official website as well as their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Top Spin and Pinterest accounts — yes Soundgarden has a Pinterest account — by changing all the passwords. They’re asking a judge to order Cornell to hand over the passwords or issue a final post reading, “Soundgarden has temporarily suspended its official social media accounts due to pending litigation.”
According to Soundgarden’s court filing, when they terminated their contract with Patriot Management in October 2019, the company handed over control of the group’s web presence to Vicky Cornell. A December 2019 email from Patriot included in the document explains that “Vicky [Cornell] has since changed all the social media passwords for the band accounts and will not share them with [Patriot] as she wants the band, and I quote, ‘to sue her for them’.” The band says its website and socials are “in a state of neglect.” The site hasn’t been updated since Oct. 15, 2019. The band account hasn’t tweeted since Jan. 28, 2020 and has thus lost its “verified blue badge.” Supposedly their “official store” page on Facebook isn’t operational, though clicking around their Facebook profile, such a page doesn’t seem to exist.
A hearing on the band’s request is set for April 16.
UPDATE: Vicky Cornell’s lawyer, Marty Singer, has shared the following statement:
Ms. Cornell’s forthcoming motion will expose the truth about the Soundgarden’s supposed social media accounts. Ms. Cornell created the social media accounts; grew the accounts by allowing them to trade on Chris’ then-existing, popular accounts; devoted her personal time and money in growing these accounts as Soundgarden displayed absolutely no interest in social media (unless it was to promote their solo projects). Ms. Cornell has overseen these accounts for close to a decade. The fact that Soundgarden is unaware of the user-names and passwords for their alleged “own” accounts confirms their utter lack of involvement in creating, growing and maintaining their alleged accounts.
Soundgarden solely wants the social media accounts in order to maliciously defame Ms. Cornell, provoke her online stalkers (as Matt Cameron has done continuously) and to instigate third-parties to harass Ms. Cornell and her minor children.
Moreover, while they now claim a sense of urgency, Soundgarden’s claim are a stale repackaging of the claims that they filed in the Florida court in May of 2020.
Ron Lafitte, Chris Cornell’s former manager, has also added a statement:
During my 6 years working with Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, Chris and Vicky always controlled all of Soundgarden’s social media accounts, both directly and through their own personal social media representative. At no time were any other members of Soundgarden involved, and this was true both before and after Chris died. Because of this, Soundgarden’s attempt to seek an injunction in connection with the social media accounts is surprising to say the least.