Conor Oberst drops libel suit over retracted rape claims

The singer-songwriter has ended a libel suit over since-retracted claims he raped a woman after a 2003 concert.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst has ended his libel suit over retracted accusations that he raped a woman more than a decade ago, according to various sources.

Oberst had filed a $1-million lawsuit against Joan Elizabeth Harris (a.k.a. Joanie Faircloth), a North Carolina woman who claimed in several online postings that Oberst had sexually assaulted her after a 2003 concert.

Harris later publicly retracted the claims, saying in a notarized statement that, “The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false... 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.”

Oberst later issued a statement on the retraction, saying, “I have accepted Joanie Faircloth’s apology and retraction to clear my name. 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.”


Now Oberst’s reps have confirmed that he will no longer be moving forward with the suit, telling Buzzfeed, “Conor’s only goal throughout these court proceedings has been to expose the truth. As per his statement of last week: he looks forward to moving on to happier times.”

The suit claimed that Harris’ libelous accusations cost the singer hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost album sales and tour revenue. Oberst had promised to donate any winnings to charities fighting violence against women. He is currently touring to support his latest album, “Upside Down Mountain.”

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