Queen Kwong's Carré Callaway hails judge's decision to dismiss lawsuit launched by her ex, Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland, as a victory for free speech

Queen Kwong
(Image credit: Laura-Mary Carter)

Queen Kwong's Carré Callaway says that "freedom of speech and art prevailed" after a Michigan judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by her former husband, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland, which accused her of damaging his “public image and reputation”.

Borland launched his legal action after taking issue with the content of a review of Queen Kwong's 2022 'break-up album' Couples Only, written for Flood magazine by English music journalist Mischa Pearlman, and a feature article, also authored by Pearlman, on the Bandcamp Daily site.

Borland suggested that the article breeched a divorce agreement that stated “neither party may make speeches, give interviews, or make public statements that defame the other party.”

According to Rolling Stone, the guitarist’s lawsuit claimed, “These statements intentionally do what Ms. Callaway was expressly prohibited from doing: They adversely affect Mr. Borland’s public image and reputation that he has built over a twenty-plus–year career.”

Judge Helal A. Farhat of the Third Judicial Circuit, Family Division, in Wayne County in Michigan has now dismissed Borland's defamation claim.

“The court does not find that [Callaway] made any defamatory statements regarding [Borland],” Judge Farhat ruled.. “In the Bandcamp Daily article, [Callaway] expressed her opinions, frustrations, and the struggles of her divorce from [Borland]. Ms. Callaway did not specifically indicate that [Borland] was the cause of her being ‘broke and homeless.’ All other statements referenced in [Borland’s] motion are either [Callaway’s] reflection of her feelings or insinuations made by authors. Statement [sic] that simply do not rise to the level of being defamatory. As to the Flood magazine article, same was imply an assessment of [Callaway’s] music and the author’s conclusionary statements based on the original Bandcamp article interview.”

In a statement given to Rolling Stone, Callaway says, “The judge made the right decision and freedom of speech and art prevailed. I’m relieved to be walking away with my voice and I hope this outcome will deter similar attacks against women and artists in the future.”

“I made a record that I’m very proud of,” she states. “It’s painfully real and honest, and I think that was enough to cause Wes discomfort and displeasure. As a result, he attempted to weaponize my record’s lyrics and press coverage against me in a frivolous legal action. This was an act of intimidation via a court system with the intent of disrupting my career and shutting me up. Which, unfortunately, is a common bullying tactic used by people in positions of power to evade accountability and intimidate women into silence.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.