The defamation lawsuit against Phoebe Bridgers has been dismissed, it has been reported.
The ‘Punisher’ singer-songwriter was sued by producer Chris Nelson in September 2021. It came about after Bridgers directed her Instagram followers to a thread written by her friend Emily Bannon, which Nelson claimed was defamatory.
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Nelson sought $3.8million (£2.8million) in damages, claiming Bridgers “intentionally used her high-profile public platform on Instagram to publish false and defamatory statements” about him “in order to destroy his reputation”.
Responding to the allegations in a sworn declaration this February, Bridgers said: “I believe that the statements I made in my Instagram story are true. My statements were made based on my personal knowledge, including statements I personally heard Mr. Nelson make.”
Bridgers sought to end the lawsuit during that court appearance, citing California’s anti-SLAPP law (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). The motion filed said that Nelson was enough of a public person that he must prove that Bridgers “acted with actual malice”.
Nelson subsequently demanded the right to depose Bridgers, saying it was the only way to prove that the musician defamed him. In March, Bridgers’ lawyers called the request “harassment”. A ruling issued on March 29, however, ordered the singer to sit for a deposition.
Now, as Pitchfork reports, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit. Per court documents viewed by the outlet, Judge Curtis A. Kin granted Bridgers’ anti-SLAPP motion that she filed earlier this year.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the musician said: “We feel vindicated that the Court recognised this lawsuit as frivolous and without merit.
“It was not grounded in law, or facts, but was filed with the sole intention of causing harm to our client’s reputation and career. This victory is important not just for our client but for all those she was seeking to protect by using her platform.”
Back in August, Judge Kin said they were leaning towards throwing the case out (via Rolling Stone). “It would seem to me that the posting by Ms. Bridgers is one that is a matter of public interest,” Kin explained.
“It seems to me that her statements on Instagram are statements that concern a person who’s in the public eye, as well as statements that could directly affect a large number of persons beyond Mr. Nelson and Ms. Bridgers.”
Kin went on to say that Nelson’s attempt to portray himself as a private citizen for the purposes of anti-SLAPP was “inconsistent” with his own lawsuit, because he describes himself as a “well-established” producer.