Conor Oberst Rape Accuser Admits She Lied; Read Her Statement

 Meredith Jenks
Photographed by Meredith Jenks on March 26, 2014 at Lafayette House in New York.

What has proven to be a sad, disturbing episode involving Bright Eyes frontman/solo act Conor Oberst has (hopefully) come to an end. Today the woman who last year accused him of raping her admitted that the entire account was made up.

Sued by Oberst earlier this year, Joan Elizabeth Harris issued the following statement:

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.

More on Conor Oberst:

The accusations emerged last Decemeber in the comments section of an XO Jane article titled "It Happened to Me: I Dated a Famous Rock Star & All I Got Was Punched in the Face." A then-anonymous commenter claimed to have been raped by Oberst. She gave a detailed narrative of meeting the songwriter at age 16 via her English teacher, who happened to be his older brother.

Oberst and his camp adamantly denied the claims. The singer-songwriter filed a libel lawsuit in a New York federal court, claiming over a million dollars in damages, including a lost record deal with Nonesuch (a detail which has been debunked). The label did release Oberst's last album, "Upside Down Mountain," in May 2014, with Oberst promoting it despite the surrounding drama.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.