Well, it has been a few weeks now since we published our review of Soaked In Bleach, a new documentary about the circumstances surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain. (Soaked In Bleach was directed by Benjamin Statler). The film itself was released on June 11 which was about a month ago. In what we think is an interesting follow up to the story, despite threats from Camp Love to Statler to cease and desist nothing as of yet has happened. Statler recently spoke about the legal salvos coming from Love and in response, he said:
“I know I’m not saying anything wrong. I am simply saying the investigation needs to be reopened.”
He then added:
“The thing is now we have the most qualified, renowned experts saying unequivocally that the investigation should be reopened. So I believe that should be respected and I hope people will take it seriously before they jump to a conclusion.”
Here’s the problem for Camp Love. A-Rod ran into this same problem during the Biogenesis scandal. When the news and accusations first broke Rodriguez threatened defamation suits left and right. However, none were ever filed and that prompted the public to ask “why not?” The answer was eventually borne out months later when A-Rod again admitted to steroid use despite his previous adamant denials. Thus, there was no way A-Rod could have sustained a defamation action and he knew it.
It appears that the same problem might be plaguing Camp Love here. If Soaked In Bleach is baseless and indeed defamatory, why has Love not sued? For each day that the film remains out in the public that lessens the likelihood that Love will run to court to stop it.
Let’s hope that Courtney doesn’t dig herself a bigger Hole than the one she appears to be in.
OUR ORIGINAL BLOG FROM 6/24/15 APPEARS HERE:
On the heels of mounting sentiment that foul play may have been associated with the 1994 death of music icon and Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, a newly released documentary (Soaked In Bleach), directed by Benjamin Statler, tries to shed light on just what really happened with Cobain’s death. Statler’s ultimate platform suggests that Cobain’s wife (Courtney Love) may have been the orchestrator of foul play.
Told through reenactments and expert interviews, the documentary centers around Tom Grant, a private investigator hired by Love to find her missing husband, just days before his body was discovered at their home. Admittedly, some of the evidence pointing at foul play is compelling.
Nevertheless, the idea of foul play is not a new one. A documentary entitled Kurt & Courtney from 1998 (Nick Broomfield) floated the concept and numerous other documentary based efforts have followed since then. However, it appears that most people have presumed that depression and suicide were much more likely culprits, at least until now.
Soaked In Bleach clearly portrays Love as a disingenuous and manipulative person with an unquenchable thirst for fame. After all, it was Love who found herself married with a child to one of the biggest rock stars of her time, all in a span of under three years. Nevertheless, a looming divorce and a possible separation from millions of dollars may have provided a possible motive for inappropriate action. Soaked In Bleach tries to support its underpinnings largely through the use of expert interviews as well as actual telephone recordings. However, evidence that is particularly hard to dismiss is a practice sheet allegedly found in Love’s backpack. The sheet contains various letter combinations virtually identical to Cobain’s alleged handwriting (and more specifically the last four lines found in Cobain’s “suicide note”).
Ultimately, Soaked In Bleach is not the final arbiter of docu-theories or irrefutable proof of what happened with Cobain but, it is a credible effort to hypothesize what really happened. The point is, for the interested viewer, Soaked In Bleach is worth the consumer’s consideration in formulating an opinion as to what might have happened. On a more pragmatic level, as echoed in the film by the former Seattle police chief, it is a referendum of sorts as to whether or the investigation should be re-opened. (On that issue, the former chief says in the film that if he were still at the helm he would do so).
An interesting postscript to the release of the film are the actions of Love and those acting at her behest. Indeed, Love has lawyered up and her barrister wrote to theaters planning to screen Soaked In Bleach. Love’s attorney wrote:
“The Film falsely presents a widely and repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory that accuses Ms. Cobain of orchestrating the death of her husband Kurt Cobain. A false accusation of criminal behavior is defamatory per se under California Civil Code Section 45a, which entitles Ms. Cobain to both actual and presumed damages.”
“Even though [redacted, the theater name] did not produce the Film, distributors of defamatory material can be held liable if they ‘knew or had reason to know that the material was defamatory.’”
In response, producers from the film retorted with the following statement:
“We were disturbed to learn that Courtney Love’s lawyers sent threatening letters to movie theaters all over the country. Most arrived before Soaked in Bleach was released last week, presumably before she or her lawyers ever saw it. She obviously hoped to scare theater owners into dropping the film. Thankfully, very few were intimidated. Most saw the letter for what it is – a cowardly attack on the rights of free speech, free expression and free choice.
Courtney Love’s uninformed accusations and efforts to discredit the film are totally off base. The film examines the well documented facts surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain and it questions much of what the public has been told about those events. Most of the opinions and theories presented in the film come directly from facts gathered by Tom Grant, the private investigator Courtney Love hired the week before Kurt’s body was discovered. Tom quickly became suspicious and tape recorded all his conversations with Courtney and others in the days leading up to and after Kurt’s death. The film uses those recordings to reenact Tom’s encounters with Courtney Love and others in Kurt’s inner circle. It also presents the views of Norm Stamper, Seattle’s Police Chief at the time, and Dr. Cyril Wecht, a leading forensic pathologist, who both question whether Kurt could have committed suicide.”
“Courtney Love and her lawyers clearly don’t like that the film presents a compelling case for re-opening the investigation into Kurt’s death. They should respect the First Amendment and let people decide for themselves.”
In the end, Soaked In Bleach offers enough to get past the initial threshold of persuasive credible evidence. Now, similar to the role of a juror, it is up to the viewer to make up his or her mind about what happened. If that was the object of this film, then we can declare that the mission was completed. Stay tuned.