It’s only the latest incident in an ongoing feud between Soundgarden and the widow of late singer Chris Cornell. The band recently accused Vicky of hijacking its legacy and social profiles following her latest lawsuit against Soundgarden over a buyout offer.
On March 25th, surviving Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Ben Shepherd, and their business manager Rit Venerus filed papers in Washington state U.S. District Court accusing Vicky Cornell of locking them out of their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Top Spin and Pinterest accounts, as well as Soundgarden’s official website, and changing all the passwords.
The band asked the judge to order her to give up the passwords or effectively disable account activity with a message posted across all platforms: “Soundgarden has temporarily suspended its official social media accounts due to pending litigation.”
In the court papers — as reported by Billboard — the band accuses Vicky of “holding hostage the login information” after their then-management company, Patriot Management, handed over the passwords to Vicky following her initial 2019 lawsuit.
According to the court filing, a December 2019 email from Patriot stated that “Vicky [Cornell] has since since changed all the social media passwords for the band accounts and will not share them with [Patriot] as she wants the band, and I quote, ‘to sue her for them’.”
The band maintain that its social media accounts are in a “state of neglect,” citing examples of its Facebook official store being inactive and the Soundgarden Twitter losing its blue “verified” badge.
This court filing comes after multiple back-and-forth legal embroilments. In the aforementioned initial lawsuit on December 9th, 2019, Vicky Cornell sued Soundgarden over unreleased recordings, among other matters. She claimed they were Chris’ solo demos, while the band stated they were intended for the next Soundgarden album. They would eventually countersue Vicky in May of last year.
Things got messier this February when Vicky again sued Soundgarden — in another separate case — over a buyout price for Chris’ share of the band. She claimed the band offered just $300,000 for what she estimates is at least a $4 million share, if not much more.
Both parties issued statements following Vicky’s February suit. Soundgarden called the buyout offer she demanded “grossly mischaracterized” while Vicky said the band was merely out for money.
“The band’s contention that this dispute is somehow not about the money for them is absurd and hypocritical,” she said in her statement.
A week ago, a federal judge in Washington state recommended the court toss out two of Vicky’s six claims against the remaining members. Additionally, U.S. District Judge Michelle Peterson said in a March 19th report that there wasn’t evidence that the band improperly withheld “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Chris Cornell’s royalties.
A hearing on Soundgarden’s latest legal request is set for April 16th.