In January wrote about how an xoJane commenter’s accusation of Conor Oberst, the lead singer of Bright Eyes, raping her gained a ton of traction. The commenter, Joanie Faircloth, insisted that Conor Oberst raped her when she was a teenager. Conor’s representative contacted CollegeCandy.com saying the allegations were untrue.
At the time I wrote, “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the same right should be extended to rape survivors. If I can’t take the accuser’s word for it, then I can’t really take his [Conor Oberst], right? That’s up to a court, a trial, a judge and a jury. As of now, I don’t know what to think, I can only hope that whoever is telling the truth gets the justice they deserve.”
After Conor’s people attempted to sue Joanie for millions and asked her to recant her statements, she remained silent for nearly seven months. Today we learned that Joanie Faircloth has admitted her accusations were done solely for attention.
She wrote, “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.”
While I am glad the truth has come out. While I am glad that this woman was not raped. While I am glad that she cleared an innocent man’s name, I am a bit disgusted that a woman, knowing fully well how horrible rape survivors have it, would use false rape accusations as a way to get attention. Not only could this have ruined someone’s reputation and good name, this will only give ignorant people, who already believe most rape survivors are fabricating stories, ammunition.
I urge you to remember that the incidence of false rape accusations is consistent with the incidents of false accusations of any other felony at 2%. The prevailing myth that more rape accusations are false when compared to accusations of other crimes needs to go away, sadly Joanie Faircloth isn’t helping the cause.
Falsely accusing someone of rape is reprehensible but so is raping someone, which occurs far more often. I hate that one person’s crime will help to justify the crimes of so many others.
Yes, we should hold Joanie Faircloth accountable but yes, we still need to take all rape accusations seriously and investigate them justly and fairly.
[Frazer Harrison / Getty Images]