Actress and singer-songwriter Noël Wells is fighting back against a lawsuit filed by record producer and owner of Sound Space studios Chris Nelson, who also recently sued Phoebe Bridgers for defamation.
Nelson claimed that Bridgers falsely accused him of abusive behaviour last October, and is seeking $3.8million (£2.8million) in damages from the singer-songwriter. It’s alleged that Bridgers wrote on Instagram she had “witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence) perpetuated by Chris Nelson”.
As Pitchfork reported, Nelson filed a similar lawsuit against Wells in December last year, also accusing the multi-hyphenate of defamation, and saying that she told an artist manager with whom Nelson had a working relationship that he had committed “an ‘incredibly predatory move on [her]’” and exhibited “incredibly predatory behavior… toward young females including young female musicians”.
In her response to Nelson’s lawsuit, Wells states that the First Amendment protected her right to warn New York indie band Big Thief against working with him. According to Rolling Stone, Wells and her lawyer have asked a Los Angeles County judge to dismiss Nelson’s lawsuit at an upcoming hearing.
Wells wrote in a cautionary email to Big Thief’s manager, Tom Wironen: “I am taking a big swing sending this email, and not knowing the current relationship you have toward that studio space, I feel it’s important as a creative to let you know about that recording environment and what happened to me in case it informs your recording situation in the future.”
Wells also claimed in court filings that Nelson attempted to change their agreement so that he would receive 50 per cent of the writing and publishing credits for the songs she wrote herself, and 50 per cent of any royalties earned from her masters. Her refusal ended their working relationship and resulted in Nelson withholding her recorded songs for three months.
In Nelson’s defamation lawsuit, he said that Wells’ statements were “false, defamatory, and misleading” and that Wells intended to damage his business and working relationship with music manager Tom Wironen.
“The statements made by defendant Wells were false. Plaintiff has not abused women, engaged in predatory behavior, or taken advantage of numerous people. To the contrary, Plaintiff intentionally seeks to work with people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ community on music projects in order to provide equal opportunities to all musicians regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation,” his complaint states.
Bridgers has yet to respond to Nelson’s lawsuit, but a case management conference has been set for February 25.