Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland Rebuked Over ‘Frivolous’ Legal Motion
A judge has dismissed Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland’s request to sanction his ex-wife, Carré Kwong Callaway over opinions expressed in an album review, as well as an interview she gave to Bandcamp Daily.
In January, a judge heard Borland’s claims that Callaway, a musician who records as Queen Kwong, violated an anti-defamation clause in their divorce agreement by describing how a song on her recent Couples Only album referenced the grief she felt for a cat that had died after Borland made her leave the marital home within three days with the rescue animal. Borland, who also fronts his own band, Big Dumb Face, also objected to a Flood magazine review that suggested one song, “Emdr Atm,” could have been about his alleged “gaslighting” of her. The statements, he claimed, damaged the “public image and reputation” of the “Break Stuff” and “Nookie” songwriter.
“She’d been living with him in Detroit, with a whole host of cats they’d rescued, only to be forced out of the house they’d made their home,” the review said. “She was given three days to move out, to rehouse all the cats, to say goodbye to a life and a marriage and a husband she thought she knew. She was also ostracized by those in the music industry who felt they stood more to gain by being friends with Borland than with her.”
“The court does not find that [Callaway] made any defamatory statements regarding [Borland],” Judge Helal A. Farhat of the Third Judicial Circuit, Family Division, in Wayne County in Michigan said in the ruling. “In the Bandcamp Daily article, [Callaway] expressed her opinions, frustrations, and the struggles of her divorce from [Borland]. Ms. Callaway did not specifically indicate that [Borland] was the cause of her being ‘broke and homeless.’ All other statements referenced in [Borland’s] motion are either [Callaway’s] reflection of her feelings or insinuations made by authors. Statement [sic] that simply do not rise to the level of being defamatory. As to the Flood magazine article, same was imply an assessment of [Callaway’s] music and the author’s conclusionary statements based on the original Bandcamp article interview.”
Borland had asked the judge to punish Callaway by fining her $5,000 and making her pay “costs and attorney fees” for the motion. “This action is simply a tactic to bully, intimidate, and silence me,” Callaway said of the motion at the time. “This is an attempt to financially ruin me, exhaust my physical well-being and denigrate my credibility with the explicit intent of causing harm to my career.”
Callaway now tells Rolling Stone she hopes she can get back to talking about her Couples Only album and that the ruling sends a message to Borland and others filing what she calls “frivolous” motions.
“I made a record that I’m very proud of,” she says. “It’s painfully real and honest, and I think that was enough to cause Wes discomfort and displeasure. As a result, he attempted to weaponize my record’s lyrics and press coverage against me in a frivolous legal action. This was an act of intimidation via a court system with the intent of disrupting my career and shutting me up. Which, unfortunately, is a common bullying tactic used by people in positions of power to evade accountability and intimidate women into silence.
“Though it was an emotionally and financially exhaustive battle, I’m glad I chose to fight it,” she continues. “The judge made the right decision and freedom of speech and art prevailed. I’m relieved to be walking away with my voice and I hope this outcome will deter similar attacks against women and artists in the future.”
Borland’s lawyer did not return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
A few years after Queen Kwong first attracted indie-rock fans as an opening act for Nine Inch Nails and the release of her debut, Bad Lieutenant, Callaway married Borland in 2016, and the couple lived in Detroit. They divorced three years later, with Borland briefly becoming a member of Queen Kwong’s touring group. In a 2017 NME interview, he claimed his presence in the band was harmful to Callaway’s career. “[Being in Limp Bizkit has] definitely been destructive to my wife’s indie band, Queen Kwong,” he said. “Having me associated with it has cost her.”