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Woman who accused Conor Oberst of rape issues retraction, apology

Conor Oberst of Desaparecidos performs during day 2 of FYF Fest at Los Angeles State Historic Park on September 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images

The woman who accused Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst of raping her more than 10 years ago has now come forth again to admit that the allegations were “100% false” and issue an official retraction.

The accusations date back to December 2013, when xoJane posted a story about a woman who began a relationship with a “famous rock star” who became abusive. Joanie Faircloth first made the claims about Oberst in the comments section of the article, writing that she had also been “raped by a “rock star”” a decade ago, when she was 16 and he was in his 20s.

She then identified Oberst as the rapist in a second comment and in a third explained the events leading up to the alleged incident. The comments no longer appear on the article itself but were preserved in a Tumblr post that ultimately spread word around.

Faircloth issued a notarized statement on Monday that reads as follows:

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.

After the allegations came to light, Oberst filed a libel lawsuit in February seeking $1.2 million in damages against Faircloth, stating that her comments were “despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory.” Oberst’s publicist said at the time that the actions Faircloth accuses Oberst of taking were in “direct opposition to his principles.” Faircloth reportedly did not appear for any court proceedings related to the suit.

Oberst also claimed that the allegations and subsequent media coverage about them had an impact on his musical career and caused his publishing company to pull a $200,000 payment tied to his latest album release. Upside Down Mountain was released in May and according to Oberst’s father and business manager, sold “substantially fewer copies” than his previous albums. Buzzfeed notes that it’s unclear how the libel suit will move forward now that Faircloth has retracted her previous statements.