Music

Danny Elfman Hit With Defamation Lawsuit Over Public Denial of Sexual Abuse Allegations

Film composer Danny Elfman is facing a libel lawsuit over statements he made to the media last year defending himself from claims that he sexually abused a former friend and fellow composer.

In a case filed Wednesday (July 10) in Los Angeles court, Nomi Abadi accused Elfman of defaming her in his response to a July 2023 article in Rolling Stone, which detailed Abadi’s allegations that Elfman had repeatedly sexually harassed her, exposed himself and masturbated in front of her.

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Her lawyers say that after Abadi “truthfully relayed facts” to Rolling Stone, Elfman attempted to “prop up his checkered reputation by destroying Nomi’s credibility” with “appalling lies” that branded her as a “liar, homewrecker, and an extortionist.”

“Defamation law provides a remedy to those individuals who, because of wretched lies about their integrity, can no longer succeed on their merits in the marketplace,” her attorneys write in the lawsuit, obtained by Billboard. “It would be difficult to find an individual more meriting such a remedy than plaintiff Nomi Abadi.”

A representative for Elfman did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday (July 11).

Last year’s Rolling Stone article reported that Elfman and Abadi had entered into a previously unreported $830,000 settlement in 2018 to resolve her accusations. It also reported that Abadi had recently sued Elfman for breach of contract, claiming he had missed payments required by the earlier settlement.

The article detailed Abadi’s allegations against Elfman at length. In a police report cited in the story, she claimed that over the course of nearly a year, Elfman had exposed himself and masturbated multiple times in front of her without her consent. In one particularly graphic accusation from the police report, Elfman allegedly presented her with a martini glass that Abadi claimed Elfman said was filled with semen.

Elfman — a prolific film composer who has written more than 100 film scores and composed the famous intro to The Simpsons — responded in the article with an extensive statement. Calling the allegations “vicious and wholly false,” he described Abadi as having a “childhood crush” on him and intending to “break up my marriage and replace my wife.” Elfman said that when he attempted to distance himself from her, “she made it clear that I would pay for having rejected her.”

According to Abadi’s new case, those statements to Rolling Stone were clearly defamatory — falsely portraying her as “a scorned woman seeking revenge and money.”

“In so doing, Elfman and his agents left Nomi’s career ambitions in tatters, requiring the commencement of this action,” her lawyers write. “In publicly branding Nomi as a liar, and a failed temptress who lied about him for reasons of revenge and greed, Elfman and his representatives defamed Nomi.”

Rolling Stone (which is owned by the same parent company as Billboard) is not named in the lawsuit nor accused of any wrongdoing.

Beyond Elfman’s statement, the new case also takes aim at two more factual assertions relayed by an unnamed “rep for Elfman” to Rolling Stone. In one, the representative denied the martini glass allegation, claiming it had actually been filled with “moisturizing cream” and was intended as a joke. In another, the rep addressed a claim that Elfman had snapped nude images of Abadi, arguing that it had been her idea and that she had “disrobed almost immediately without any encouragement.”

In her new lawsuit, Abadi said those claims were also false and defamatory: “Nomi did not initiate the nude photography,” her lawyers write in their complaint. “Elfman coerced her into it. Elfman masturbated in front of Nomi, afterwards apologizing to her and promising not to do so again.”

The lawsuit does not specify how much money Abadi is seeking in damages.

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