This year’s Kurt Cobain doc Montage of Heck was released with the approval of the late Nirvana frontman’s family, as Courtney Love helped director Brett Morgen assemble the film from Kurt’s private home videos. The Nirvana nostalgia train rolls on, though, and the latest Cobain-based film isn’t getting the Love blessing. In fact, Cobain’s widow is trying to stop anyone from seeing it.
On June 11, Love’s legal team issued a cease and desist letter to theaters planning to show Soaked in Bleach, a new doc from Benjamin Statler that re-examines the old theory that Love might’ve had a hand in Cobain’s death, which was ruled a suicide in 1994.
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The letter isn’t even directed at the filmmakers; it’s addressed to an unnamed theater, threatening legal action under grounds of defamation if it chooses to show Soaked in Bleach.
“This letter shall serve as notice to (name withheld) that the Film portrays Ms. Cobain in a false light and contains defamatory statements that exposes (name withheld) to substantial liability,” the letter reads. “We demand that you immediately cease and desist from infringing on Ms. Cobain’s rights in any manner whatsoever, including but not limited to completely halting the Film’s planned exhibition and promotion.”
Love’s legal rep stated that since Cobain’s death was ruled a suicide and no plausible evidence has been presented to the contrary, the film distributors can be held liable if they “knew or had reason to know that the material was defamatory.”
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The letter threatens to take action against all involved in the “production, promotion, distribution, or exhibition” of the film it wasn’t withdrawn within five days of the letter. June 16 has come and gone, and the film has not backed down. In fact, its official Facebook page made a promotional post yesterday (June 16), calling it “the movie they don’t want you to see.”
The film’s producers responded to Love’s statement via Deadline, saying, “Courtney Love and her lawyers clearly don’t like that the film presents a compelling case for re-opening the investigation into Kurt’s death. They should respect the First Amendment and let people decide for themselves.”