What’s the Deal With the Phoebe Bridgers Lawsuit?

The musician is being sued for $3.8 million by an alleged former threesome partner

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25: Phoebe Bridgers performs during the 2021 Governors Ball Music Fes...
Taylor Hill/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

By the pricking of Phoebe Bridgers’s thumbs, a wild and raucous lawsuit this way comes. Radar and TMZ report that the “Motion Sicknesssinger is being sued for defamation, false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with prospective economic relations by music producer Chris Nelson, who allegedly previously participated in threesomes with her and who is now accusing Bridgers of helping perpetuate false allegations that he is an abuser and a murderer. Nelson is requesting $3.8 million in damages.

After reading the above, you may be left with some questions — for example, “What the hell?” Allow me to address any inquiries that may be bubbling up in your mind right now:

As a refresher, who is Phoebe Bridgers?

She is a 27-year-old Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter from Los Angeles. She caught many people’s attention when she smashed her guitar on Saturday Night Live in February. She caught further attention when she reportedly started dating Irish hunk Paul Mescal. I’m embarrassingly out of the loop on contemporary female indie musicians who aren’t Mitski, but I’ve been meaning to check out Bridgers’s songs on Spotify. I guess I’ll do that now.

Who is Chris Nelson?

He is, as stated, a music producer. Apparently he owns the Sound Space recording studio in downtown LA. Bridgers referenced him by name in a 2018 interview with Guitar.com as someone who “sells vintage instruments.”

Can you tell me more about the threesome?

Uh-huh, sure. In his lawsuit, Nelson says he met Bridgers through her drummer Marshall Vore. At some point, Nelson was dating someone named Emily Bannon, who he alleges had previously dated Bridgers’ guitarist Harrison Whitford while also having a secret three-way sexual relationship with Bridgers and Conor Oberst. Nelson alleges that he, Bannon, and Bridgers started having threesomes in 2018, per People, although Nelson didn’t learn about the previous ménage à trois until later. Nelson says he broke up with Bannon in fall 2019, but Bannon and Bridgers continued seeing each other. The two were photographed together on the GQ Men of the Year red carpet in 2019.

Wait, how did Conor Oberst become involved in this?

He is in a “folk-pop superduo” with Bridgers called Better Oblivion Community Center.

What did Bridgers say about Nelson that was supposedly defamatory?

Nelson says in his lawsuit that in October 2020, Bridgers posted “false and misleading statements” about Nelson on Instagram — including the statement “I witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetuated by Nelson” — according to Radar. Bridgers then allegedly directed her followers to Bannon’s account. (A representative for Bridgers declined to comment.) The lawsuit further alleges that Bannon used her Instagram to accuse Nelson of hacking into women’s accounts, selling fake rare guitars, stealing money, beating a “young Latinx” man to death, and “bludgeon[ing] at least one other man with a baseball bat,” according to People.

Did that stuff really happen?!

Nelson says no. Bannon — against whom Nelson filed a lawsuit in December 2020, per Vulture — appears to have deleted her Instagram account and could not be reached. Gawker could not locate any news reports mentioning the alleged incidents.

Yikes if true…


What does Bridgers have to say about this?

A representative for Bridgers was not available for comment.

I see. By the way, did you get a chance to listen to Bridgers’ music just now?

Yes, I listened to “Motion Sickness” while aggregating this post. Pretty good.