LOS ANGELES — A woman who accused Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst of raping her when she was a teenager a decade ago now says she made the story up.
Joan Faircloth sent a notarized statement to Oberst’s lawyer Monday recanting what she wrote online starting last December.
“The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false,” the Durham, North Carolina, woman wrote. “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.”
The allegations were “republished by countless media outlets around the world, thus further perpetuating the untrue depiction of Oberst as a rapist,” said a defamation lawsuit filed by Oberst against Faircloth in February. “To add insult to injury, certain media outlets published stories in which Faircloth’s defamatory false statements were characterized as true, and in which Oberst’s fans were actually encouraged to stop supporting his musical career.”
Court records show that Faircloth never responded to Oberst’s lawsuit, which called her a “pathological liar” and asked for at least $1 million in damages. A judge issued a default judgment in Oberst’s favor earlier this month.
Faircloth’s story was first published in December on the website OXJane.com under the title “It Happened to Me: I Dated a Famous Rock Star & All I Got Was Punched in the Face,” the lawsuit said. Faircloth wrote that Oberst “took advantage of my teenage crush on him” when she was introduced to him at a concert when she was 16 and he was in his 20s. She wrote that ” Conor took a lot from me including my virginity, my dignity and self esteem.”
Faircloth later published statements saying that the singer’s attorneys offered her “hush money” to keep quiet about the rape.
Her statement on Monday recanted all of her claims. “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,” Faircloth wrote. “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.”
Oberst, 34, is described by Rolling Stone as “a pain-strumming poet of emo.” His group Bright Eyes first found success in 2002 with the album “Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground.”