The comments section of a story on the site XOJane set off a legal battle between Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst and a woman who falsely accused him of rape, and spawned a series of scarring events for the singer these past seven months. But on Wednesday (July 16), the Oberst seemed ready to “move forward” when he publicly accepted his accuser’s apology.
“I have accepted Joanie Faircloth’s apology and retraction to clear my name,” Oberst said in a statement, according to Pitchfork. “This has been extremely difficult and stressful for me personally and for those I love. I’m appreciative of the family, friends, fans, and business partners who supported me throughout this and look forward to happier times as we all move forward with our lives.”
At the end of last year, Faircloth (a.k.a. Joan Elizabeth Harris) left a series of comments under a story about an abusive rock-star boyfriend on XOJane, claiming that she had been raped by Oberst 10 years ago when she was 16. The comments were soon removed, but the damage had been done and the story spread around the Web like proverbial wildfire.
Oberst filed a $1 million defamation suit earlier this year against the woman, according to NME, stating that Faircloth’s accusation was damaging to his reputation and that she was “just an embittered superfan, who gushed about him and Bright Eyes as recently as January 2013.”
Rumors were flying that Oberst had been dropped from his label, Nonesuch — rumors that Nonesuch denied — when his accuser finally came forward and retracted her previous claims.
She issued a notarized statement via Buzzfeed saying:
“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.”
It remains to be seen if Oberst will drop his suit against Faircloth.