Phoebe Bridgers stands by the comments that led to $3.8 million defamation suit

Studio owner Chris Nelson had sued over a warning Bridgers had published to Instagram.

Phoebe Bridgers has stood by the comments she made in October 2020 that led to recording studio owner Chris Nelson suing her in a defamation suit worth millions.

According to Rolling Stone, Bridgers made a series of filings on 14 February 2021 asking the court to dismiss Nelson’s complaint on the basis the lawsuit is “seeking to chill” her allegations of abusive conduct, violating her right to free speech.

In a sworn declaration, Bridgers wrote: “I believe that the statements I made in my Instagram story are true. My statements were made based on my personal knowledge, including statements I personally heard Mr Nelson make, as well as my own observations. I continue to believe the statements that I made were true.”

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Nelson’s complaint accused Bridgers of making “false and misleading statements” on social media as “part of a vendetta to destroy [his] reputation that was enflamed by defendant Bridgers and Emily Bannon’s [his ex-girlfriend] sexual relationship.” He also claimed that the post caused him to lose business, suffering damages of at least $3.8 million.

Bridger’s initial post voiced support for Emily Bannon, reading: “I witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetuated by Chris Nelson, owner of a studio called Sound Space.

“For anyone who knows [Nelson], is considering working with him, or wants to know more, there is an articulate and mind-blowing account on [Emily Bannon’s] page as a highlight. Trigger warning for basically everything triggering.”

In a separate lawsuit filed in December 2020, Nelson accused former Saturday Night Live actress and singer-songwriter Noël Wells of making similarly “false, defamatory, and misleading” comments. She allegedly did so when warning the band Big Thief against working with him in the summer of 2020.

That case was later dismissed by a judge, when Wells’ legal team successfully argued that her warning was sent in an effort to assist Big Thief with its right to hire or not hire who it chooses, an act protected as freedom of speech and artistic expression.

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