Phoebe Bridgers defamation lawsuit dismissed

Last September, Phoebe Bridgers was sued for defamation by a producer named Chris Nelson. Nelson, who owns a recording studio called Sound Space in Los Angeles, claimed Bridgers used her public Instagram platform to post false and defamatory statements about Nelson “to destroy his reputation,” the complaint reads. Now, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit, MyNewsLA reports and Pitchfork can confirm.

According to court documents seen by Pitchfork, Judge Curtis A. Kin granted Bridgers’ anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion, which he originally filed in February. California’s anti-SLAPP statute is intended to prevent individuals from using the courts and potential lawsuits to intimidate those exercising their right to free speech.

“We feel vindicated that the Court recognized this lawsuit as frivolous and without merit,” a spokesperson for Phoebe Bridgers wrote in a statement to Pitchfork. “It was not based on law or fact, but was brought with the sole intent of damaging our client’s reputation and career. This victory is important not only for our client, but also for all those whom it sought to protect through the use of its platform.”

In the original lawsuit (obtained by Pitchfork), Nelson stated that, “around 2018, [he] and his girlfriend at the time… began having consensual sexual encounters with [Phoebe] Puentes. Nelson and his girlfriend split “in or around the fall of 2019,” according to the lawsuit, but Nelson says Bridgers and the woman “continued their relationship.” A year later, Bridgers made “false and misleading statements about [Nelson],” according to the complaint.

Nelson sought $3.8 million in damages for alleged defamation, false lighting, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with prospective business relationships, and negligent interference with prospective business relationships.

On February 14 of this year, Bridgers responded to Nelson’s lawsuit in court. “I believe the statements I made on my Instagram story are true,” he wrote in a statement in support of the strike motion. “My statements were based on my personal knowledge, including statements I personally heard Mr. Nelson make, as well as my own observations. I continue to believe that the statements I made were true.” (Bridgers had written that he witnessed and was able to verify “much of the abuse (grooming, robbery, violence) perpetrated by Chris Nelson, owner of a studio called Sound Space…” on his Instagram account.)

It was during the February 14 court appearance that Bridgers filed the motion invoking the anti-SLAPP statute. According to MyNewsLA, Judge Kin heard arguments on Bridgers’ motion to dismiss on August 11, indicating at the time that he was leaning toward dismissing Nelson’s case.

Pitchfork has contacted attorneys for Chris Nelson.