Phoebe Bridgers is known for good takes. She’s spoken out about the importance of abortion access, even raising $40,000 for abortion funds in just 12 hours, is one of the only celebrities to publicly defend Amber Heard, and has served as a needful (and consistent) foil to Twitter bullies everywhere. She’s always had Jezebel’s affections, but as of this week, she’s also kept firmly in the cash, despite being sued for $3.8 million.
The singer songwriter just scored in Los Angeles County Superior Court: A judge just tossed out a defamation lawsuit against her filed by Sound Space recording studio owner Chris Nelson. The suit stemmed from an October 2020 post on Bridgers’ Instagram stories wherein she defended Emily Bannon, Nelson’s ex-girlfriend who alleged he was abusive. She posted:
“I witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetuated by Chris Nelson, owner of a studio called Sound Space,” Bridgers’ post, which appeared on her Instagram account for 24 hours, read. “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 shared the sentiment alongside another Instagram story by Bannon that read: “I stand in Solidarity with those coming forward with allegations against Chris Nelson.” Nelson filed the defamation suit against the singer in September 2021, claiming Bridgers published “false and defamatory statements,” about him and seeking $3.8 million in damages.
In response, Bridgers’ attorneys filed a special motion under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which safeguards free speech. In an accompanying declaratory statement, Bridgers asserted, “I believe that the statements I made in my Instagram story are true.”
In December 2021, Nelson shared his text history with Bridgers in an attempt to prove his innocence. Unsurprisingly, given their last exchange took place in 2020, it didn’t work. Before ruling in Bridgers’ favor, Judge Curtis Kin told the court he believed she “intended to provide protected consumer information to musicians or others who might consider working with (Nelson).”
Of the ruling, a Bridgers spokesperson told Rolling Stone: “We feel vindicated that the court recognized 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.” Nelson has yet to publicly comment on the dismissal.
In a time when deeply questionable men in the music industry are empowered to cause professional and personal harm to any female artists that dare speak out about its corrupt goings on, (i.e. Kesha v. Dr. Luke, Megan Thee Stallion v. 1501 Entertainment and Tory Lanez, Taylor Swift v. Scooter Braun, et. al), this win is a balm for the soul.