As reported by Pitchfork, on August 10, 2020, Ariel Pink filed a petition for a restraining order in Los Angeles County Court against Charlotte Ercoli Coe, who had previously been in his band. On January 6, the same day that Pink attended traveled to Washington DC to support Trump, the Court ruled against him and dismissed the petition. The dismissal was based of an Anti-SLAPP argument brought by Coe. Anti-SLAPP claims allow a party request the Court to dismiss a defamation claim, and certain other actions, if the party relying on the Anti-SLAPP statute can show that the speech at the root of the suit was constitutionally protected. Here, the court ruled that Coe had made a threshold showing that her speech was constitutionally protected, and therefore denied Pink’s restraining order petition.
Pink initially filed the petition alleging that Coe sent a letter to his record label, Mexican Summer, “falsely claiming he was a sexual ‘predator’ and falsely claiming to mutual friends and to [Pink] that he committed sexual offenses almost three years ago for which she has threatened to report [Pink] to police authorities.” Pink also claimed that Coe had “directly threatened” him and “attempted to blackmail him with false allegations of sexual misconduct to his record label and financial supporters, to the media, including Pitchfork and Variety, and to the general public.” Pink also alleged other defamatory actions were taken by Coe and requested that Coe be ordered to not contact Media Outlets about the issue.
Coe filed a motion to strike the restraining order on October 14. In that motion, she filed a declaration stating that she did send a letter to Mexican summer, that she began dating Pink when he was 38 and she was 19, and that Pink “physically attacked” her on stage during an October 2017 concert in San Francisco. Coe also admits that she had tweeted about the incident, in that tweet saying the two were “just having fun,” but now says that tweet was made at the forceful insistence of Pink. Coe alleged that Pink “physically and mentally abused [her] during [their] relationship.” Pink previously addressed the San Francisco incident stating that “my behavior onstage was gross and I can’t defend it.” Coe also alleged that Pink shared naked pictures of her with people without permission and had unprotected sex with her without permission, thereby giving her herpes.
Coe’s aunt also attached a declaration to the motion. That declaration included a screenshot of a text that Pink had sent to Coe’s Aunt. That text message read: “i fucked up with charlie on dozens of fronts and deserve what i got as a consequence. i gave her herpes (kills me more than anythng [sic]) and that alone would have been grounds enough for a break up. i flirted w people online, thinking it harmless, and that it wouldn’t get back to her- i even sent private nude pics of charlie like a fucking idiot, convincing myself that it wasn’t inappropriate because i was ‘bragging’ about how hot my gf was.”
In response to Coe’s Anti-Slapp claim, Pink denied most of Coe’s allegations. He specifically denied that he ever coerced Coe into unprotected sex and also stated that at the time of the unprotected sex, he was not aware that he had herpes. He also stated that the shared picture at issue showed Coe clothed and was only shared to one friend that “Was a fan.”
Note that the Court’s ruling does not comment to the truth or falseness of either party’s claim. Rather, the ruling determined that Pink had not produced enough evidence to warrant a restraining order and that Coe had met a threshold level of evidence to show that there was possibility of her right to free speech was being restricted by Pink’s petition.
Pink’s attorneys issued a response to the ruling: “The pending matter is now on appeal and the subject of a separate lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. It is [Pink’s] position that the speech and communications at the heart of the case are not protected and [are] defamatory.”
Coe’s attorneys did not issue a statement. Following Pink’s attendance at the events in Washignton DC, Mexican Summer dropped Pink from its label.