Just a few days ago, we heard once again about the $3.8M defamation lawsuit against Phoebe Bridgers. Producer and studio owner Chris Nelson filed a lawsuit against the singer-songwriter on September 28, 2021, claiming that she “maliciously and intentionally” posted outrageously accusatory comments about him on her Instagram account, while knowing they were “false.” Despite Bridgers’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit, we have just learned that she must sit for a deposition.
“Because the subjective belief of defendant [Bridgers] is critical, the defendant herself is necessarily the primary, if not sole, source of evidence regarding actual malice,” ruled Judge Curtis A. Kin on March 29.
Prior to this, Bridgers’s lawyers tried to dismiss the lawsuit and called the lawsuit “nothing more than thinly veiled harassment.” Last month, she also cited California’s anti-SLAPP law, claiming that Nelson is enough of a public person that he must prove she “acted with actual malice.” Despite her hope to end everything this way, the judge ruled she must sit for a deposition to determine if she actually acted with malice, and the next hearing is set for June 16.
It’s also interesting to note that Nelson amended the lawsuit on December 29, 2021, adding more than 100 pages of text exchanges between him and Bridgers; very few news outlets reported about this (except for Rolling Stone) and we know that Nelson believes that the added material proving that everything Phoebe Bridgers said about him was false.
I haven’t seen the amended lawsuit (with the 100 text messages) but the original lawsuit is not difficult to find… Thanks to the media, the majority of people think Nelson is another scumbag predator, mostly because he filed another defamatory lawsuit against musician Noel Wells that was ruled in favor of Wells, but most people do not actually read lawsuits: Nelson was accused by Wells of “incredibly predatory move” and predatory behavior toward young females including young female musicians. She emailed Big Thief and advised them not to use Nelson’s studio because of this alleged predatory behavior and Nelson claimed this was damaging to his business. He lost the lawsuit because he was not able to provide any evidence that the defamatory statements actually disrupted an existing business relationship and caused emotional distress.
Interpret this the way you want, but it seems that Wells and Nelson had a good relationship at one point. She even calls him “angel” and “Hearthrob” (with one t) on this old Tumblr page: “Thanks to angels Chris Nelson, Branden Stroup, Katy Stoll, Stevie Nelson, and Vikesh Kapoor for helping with this promo.” He also produced her music… “She began to work closely with producer Chris Nelson,” you can read here. I obviously don’t know what happened, but I will let you connect the dots from heartthrob to predator.
Many magazines have reported about Nelson’s lawsuit against Phoebe Bridgers, focusing on the “juicy” stuff: the threesomes between Bridgers, Nelson, and Emily Bannon and between Bridgers, Bannon, and Conor Oberst. These are described in detail in the lawsuit. But this is almost a distraction from the rest, and this has led people to think Nelson was suing out of spite because Bannon and Bridgers continued to have a relationship after Nelson and Bannon broke up. However, if you take the time to read the lawsuit, you realize that the accusations are much more serious.
In October 2020, Bannon posted serious accusations against Nelson on her Instagram page, and Bridgers directed her large audience to Bannon’s page, claiming she had witnessed “much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetrated by Chris Nelson, owner of a studio called Sound Space.” Bridgers basically validated Bannon’s claims, including:
The beating of “a young Latinx man to death after provoking him with a racial slur”
The killing of “the young man”
The bludgeoning of “at least one other man with a baseball bat” who was left to bleed out in an alleyway”
Right there, Nelson was accused to have committed one murder? Two murders? If this really happened, where are the bodies? And why wasn’t Nelson arrested?
Bannon also accused Nelson of “racially-motivated hate crimes,” including “intentionally rear-end drivers of color and then challenging them to call the police, knowing that his white privilege would protect him from any consequences whatsoever but expose his victims to a prohibitive level of risk (of deportation, incarceration, or brutality) by forcing them to interact with cops.”
The accusations also included defrauding “a neighbor out of an estimated $100,000-$130,000”; “forging [the neighbor’s] signature and then stealing $50,000 from” the neighbor, stealing belongings and gear, manufacturing fake rare guitars to defraud collectors and museums, hacking women’s email accounts…
If you believe these statements, which were shared by Bridgers on Instagram, Nelson is a serious crook and a criminal. Personally, I cannot get over the criminal part: why were these two women casually posting about murders on Instagram? Why didn’t they report these horrific crimes to the police? Saying that this guy is pissed because Bridgers stole his girlfriend is really a way to evade the main issue. If these accusations are false (and I don’t know if they are) Nelson has much more important reasons to be pissed off. If they are true, he should be really afraid.
Nelson has denied everything: he claimed that the threesome relationship was consensual “entirely encouraged by both Bridgers and Bannon.” As evidence he provides screenshots of texts from Bridgers reading: “omfg Best fuckiversary EVER,” “happy birthday idiot Let’s have group sex.” There is also another one from Bridgers where she thanks him after he gifted her a rare guitar worth thousands of dollars on her birthday.
Nelson even claims that, after Bridgers posted her statements on Instagram, she admitted that she “knew the statements were false and/or had serious doubts about the truth of the statements. Approximately 24 hours after posting the defamatory statements, Bridgers and Nelson had a conversation at Moon Juice in Silverlake, and “she felt the comments were gray, she had not seen Bannon in months, and she thought Bannon was in rehab for whip-its.” Bridgers “stated she wanted to get lunch” with Nelson and “ended the conversation with a hug.” If true, and I am saying if true, this has to be the most hypocritical behavior ever.
Bannon and Bridgers made extremely serious accusations against Nelson, we are past the predatory-type claims here, they basically accused him of murder, so it makes sense that this lawsuit was not dismissed like the previous one. In the end, let’s hope that justice is on the side of whoever is telling the truth.
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