Woman Apologises to Singer Conor Oberst After False Rape Claim
A woman who claimed singer Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes had raped her after a concert when she was 16 has admitted to making the story up.
Joanie Faircloth, who had accused Conor Oberst of rape in a series of online posts in December 2013, issued a statement retracting her story on Monday.
‘The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false,’ the statement said.
She admitted making up the stories ‘to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness’.
In the statement, shared by Pitchfork, she 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.’
Faircloth, a married mother living in North Carolina, did not expand on her son’s ill health in the statement, but her Facebook posts show he is autistic and suffers from a kidney disease. He is awaiting a kidney transplant and remains in hospital.
Her comments accusing Oberst, now 33, of rape had been written beneath an article about domestic violence for XOJane’s ‘It Happened to Me’ series in December, and were later shared on other blogs.
The posts were initially posted under her Facebook name, before they were switched to ‘anonymous’. They were eventually deleted.
In them, Faircloth claimed that the singer-songwriter raped her in 2003 in North Carolina after his brother, who was her English teacher at school, introduced the two at one of the singer’s concerts.
Among her false claims, she had written: ‘Conor definitely took advantage of my teenage crush on him… Conor took a lot from me including my virginity, my dignity, and my self-esteem.’
She wrote that she never reported the assault because of the way her own family and friends reacted to the accusations – but that her husband had encouraged her to name him to help others.
After she had posted the claims on XOJane.com last December, her story started to unravel and Oberst sued her for $1 million for libel in February.
The civil lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan federal court, branded her a liar who made ‘despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory statements’ about Oberst.
Oberst, who sought monetary damages, attorney fees and other costs, said that the media coverage damaged his career.
Last week, there were reports that he had been dropped from his record label, Nonesuch, but his publicist told Radio.com that this was not true.
In the lawsuit, he explained that he had been in the company of his brother, bandmates or then-girlfriend at the time he was accused of attacking Faircloth.
‘[Her] statements… are not only malicious lies, but they are an insult to the millions of actual rape victims around the world,’ his complaint said. ‘Faircloth should be ashamed of herself.’