The studio owner suing Phoebe Bridgers for defamation still hasn’t served the indie rocker with his lawsuit — but he’s already filing an amended complaint with scores of personal text messages attached.
The new version of the suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, includes more than 100 pages of text exchanges between plaintiff Chris Nelson — the owner of the Sound Space studio in Los Angeles — and the Grammy-nominated “Kyoto” artist dating back to 2016.
In a statement, Nelson said he believes the messages “prove that everything Phoebe said about me was false.” He is currently accusing Bridgers of joining in what he calls his ex-girlfriend Emily Bannon’s “revenge plot” against him by directing her 500,000 followers to Bannon’s October 2020 Instagram story titled, “I stand in Solidarity with those coming forward with allegations against Chris Nelson.” The thread accused Nelson of fraud, theft, and violence.
According to Nelson, he, Bannon, and Bridgers engaged in sexual trysts together during his relationship with Bannon. By providing his text history with Bridgers, he aims to show that their relationship was and remained amicable even after his breakup with Bannon at the end of 2019. Nelson specifically highlights a text Bridgers allegedly sent him on Aug. 19, 2020, in which the musician responds to Nelson wishing her a happy birthday by writing, “Belated thank you to that sir! Still no one will ever beat your present last year. My most prized possession.” The gift in question was “a rare guitar worth thousands of dollars,” according to Nelson’s filing.
But Bannon’s new paperwork says he included “all” of his texts with Bridgers, ostensibly showing she hasn’t texted him since August 2020 — or for the two months leading up to the Instagram story. The singer-songwriter-guitarist has not been served with either of Nelson’s complaints and has not commented on the case.
When Bridgers expressed her support for Bannon with her October 2020 post, she claimed that she “witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetrated by Chris Nelson, owner of a studio called Sound Space,” according to Nelson’s complaints.
“For anyone who knows [Nelson], is considering working with him, or wants to know more, there is an articulate and mind-blowing account on @emilybannon’s page as a highlight. TRIGGER WARNING for basically everything triggering,” Bridgers’ post allegedly read.
Nelson first sued Bridgers on Sept. 28 with claims she “maliciously and intentionally” posted the comments knowing they were “false.” He said the “misleading” statements caused him to suffer damages of at least $3.8 million.
“As a result of defendant Bridgers’ statements, musicians, and artists removed plaintiff from their projects and stripped plaintiff of credits that he had obtained in producing their music,” Nelson’s suit claims.
Nelson previously sued Bannon for defamation in December 2020. In response filings, Bannon has stated she lived with Nelson during their year-long relationship and “began to see certain behaviors that disturbed me.” She said the behaviors caused her to end the relationship, and then, in mid-2020, she was “approached by or put in touch with a diverse range of individuals” who also knew Nelson, she claims. “Several discussions involved Nelson’s abusive and/or criminal behavior and how similar it was from person to person,” she wrote in a sworn declaration filed in February.
Bannon said she posted her Instagram story “so that future customers of his would be on notice.”
The next court hearing involving Nelson’s suit against Bannon is set for Jan. 26.
In yet another lawsuit filed last December, Nelson accused actress and singer-songwriter Noël Wells of making “false, defamatory, and misleading” comments when she allegedly warned indie rock band Big Thief against working with him in July 2020.
In a response filing, Wells and her legal team argue she sent her cautionary email to Big Thief’s manager in a protected effort to “assist” the band with its right to hire — or not hire — anyone it chooses in the furtherance of its exercise of artistic free speech.
The next hearing in that case is set for Jan. 5, 2022.