Soundgarden’s surviving members are countersuing Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell. It comes after their 2019 benefit concert, where the band will allege that Cornell used the proceeds for her own “personal purposes”.
They’ve also said that she took over the band’s social media accounts without their permission and created some posts that aimed to denigrate the band.
As reported by Rolling Stone, the countersuit was filed in the US District Court of Florida, Miami on Wednesday.
In the lawsuit, the remaining band members, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd say they entered an oral agreement with Vicky Cornell to perform for free during the “I Am te Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” concert in January last year.
The intent of the concert was to raise funds to benefit The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, it was the first Soundgarden concert following Cornell’s suicide.
Soundgarden alleges that “recipient(s) of the revenue” from 2019 Chris Cornell tribute benefit concert “have not been identified”.
The suit claims that the benefit concert is “believed to have raised many millions of dollars”. However, instead of being used for charitable purposes as the band and Vicky Cornell verbally agreed, they allege “fraudulent inducement,” saying, “Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the Cornell Concert for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family.”
It goes on to claim she knew that the charitable “representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation.”
The suit also claims Soundgarden have now suffered damages as well as reputational harm as a result.
Vicky Cornell’s lawyer, Marty Singer commented on the case, saying the allegations are, “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious.”
“Their transparently desperate counterclaims … do not change the fact that they are the ones who have improperly asserted ownership of vocal recordings that were created solely by Chris and that they are the ones who have unlawfully withheld substantial sums of money from Chris’ widow and children,” Singer said in a statement.
The lawyer then alleges that the band received $78,000 to perform at the 2019 benefit concert in question.
“As Chris’ former band members are well aware, every single penny of the proceeds generated by the concert were properly allocated and accounted for and their statements are not only false and defamatory but demonstrate the depths to which Chris’ former bandmates are willing to sink to tarnish his legacy,” he said.
Rolling Stone report that Vicky Cornell’s representation were not immediately able to provide evidence showing the band received the sum that Singer detailed in his statement.
The countersuit also addresses Vicky Cornell’s control over the band’s social media accounts. The band has said they never gave her permission for her to operate the accounts and that she’s using them to identify herself as “Soundgarden”.
It also claims that she “removed fan comments and has herself posted images and comments to publicly-accessible Band Social Media pages. Some of those postings by Vicky Cornell are intended to denigrate the Band and Surviving Band Members.”
The countersuit follows the lawsuit that Vicky Cornell filed in 2019 against the remaining members of Soundgarden. The lawsuit claimed the band was withholding royalties from her over seven unreleased recordings from Chris Cornell.