In a new interview, Conor Oberst has opened up on the death of his brother and the personal impact of being falsely accused of rape.
The Bright Eyes singer was accused of sexual assault by an anonymous online commenter in 2014. After an extensive interim period in which Oberst vehemently denied the allegations, the accuser recanted her statement entirely, admitting it was “100% false”. Oberst later accepted her apology, and dropped the libel lawsuit against her.
Speaking to Noisey in a new interview, Oberst admits that the allegations had an impact on him. “At the time, it was like: I’ve lived 34 years on this earth, and I’m not saying I’m a great guy, but I know I’m not… I’m not violent towards anyone,” he says. “Nothing like that would be a part of my character. And for a second, to have the whole world think that was true about me just did a number on my psyche.”
Oberst continues: “When something like that—something random and terrible—happens to you, it’s like… At this point I equate it to getting in a car crash or getting struck by fucking lightning. I don’t feel like there’s ever complete closure to something like that in the sense that you carry the psychological things with you. But everyone has some or many things like that in their life, maybe not that public or extreme. It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to go on with life.”
He also insists upon the rarity of his situation, particularly given the regularity with which sexual assault does happen to women. “It’s such a tricky topic for me because I don’t ever want to minimize how much that happens to women all the fucking time,” he says. “They say one in four women will experience some kind of sexual assault in their life which is fucking insane and heartbreaking. So as painful and surreal and fucked up as my situation was, I don’t ever want to use this as an example to justify anything.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Conor Oberst opens up about the death of his brother.
“He basically fucking drank himself to death,” Oberst says of the sudden death of his older brother late last year. “But everybody has so much of that stuff in their life. There’s no equivalence. We’re never going to understand what it’s like to be a kid in Syria, getting fucking chemical bombed and watching their family die. That’s a level that you and I will never understand.”
Conor Oberst released his new album ‘Salutations’ back in March.