How Conor Oberst's Career Took An Unfortunate Turn

If you were a fan of acoustic indie rock in the early 2000s, you've definitely heard of the musical project Bright Eyes, led by Nebraska-based musician Conor Oberst. From underground hits such as "First Day Of My Life" to "Lua" and even a musical feature on the Late Show with David Letterman (on YouTube), you can't discuss early-aughts folk-pop without the hitmaker.

Between 10 albums, international tours and a string of prestigious awards over a 17-year career, many would estimate that frontman Oberst would be rolling in riches by now: Biographics World claims the indie rocker has an impressive $185 million in assets as of 2018, with Wealthy Persons similarly projecting a $200 million net worth as of December 2020.

But fans of the band may be surprised to hear that despite all that, the frontman pays attention to costs anyway. Oberst admitted to W Magazine in 2017 that he recently moved back to his hometown of Omaha at least in part because of the high New York City rents.

Regardless of the frontman's former wealth, there's one quite possible reason he's not shelling out the big bucks for New York City rent anymore. In 2013, Oberst fell prey to a strange and harmful online post.

An online post nearly ruined his career

As reported by the Washington Post, the multi-instrumentalist's reputation took a serious blow in late 2013 when an anonymous woman claimed in the comments of an online article that Oberst had raped her. The online post soon went viral online, and eventually spread to mainstream news.

"[The commenter] had no physical contact with Mr. Oberst at the Durham, NC show she claimed was the location of the alleged sexual assault," Oberst's team said in a statement that year, with the internet left debating over whether the artist was guilty or not. Five months after the post had gone virtual, Oberst sued the anonymous woman (who had since deleted her post) for libel. The original poster later admitted that she had made the post up for attention.

"The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false," the woman said in a statement, per Buzzfeed. "I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son's illness."

Still, as SevensLegal argues, some bloggers postulated that Conor Oberst's legal actions after being accused could intimidate rape victims and prevent them from coming forward. To this day, many associate Oberst's name in conjunction with the nasty accusation, leaving the Bright Eyes musician to pack his bags and relocate west.