Note: This article contains references to domestic violence and assault that some readers may find disturbing.
For the past six years, a messy dispute has been ongoing between Foxygen’s Sam France and his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth le Fey, a former touring member of the band who also makes music under the name Globelamp. The tumultuous relationship between France and le Fey has been documented by both parties in courtrooms, in the press, and on social media, with each accusing the other of abuse. Pitchfork has obtained the public court files in each case, which outline competing allegations of physical violence, threats, and harassment. The accusations range from alleged punches in the face to claims of cyberstalking and a “murder plot.”
Recently, the conflict picked up again in the Los Angeles county courts. In 2014, France was granted a five-year domestic violence prevention restraining order against le Fey. It was renewed this March. Le Fey is currently seeking the same against France, and was recently granted a temporary restraining order in the meantime.
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for France, who did not comment about the matter on the record prior to deadline.
The relationship between the two musicians began in 2012 after le Fey appeared in the video for “San Francisco,” a song from Foxygen’s 2013 breakout album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. She joined the band’s touring lineup shortly thereafter as a backup singer and multi-instrumentalist, and went on the road with them in 2012 and early 2013. For a time in 2013, le Fey and France lived together in Olympia, Washington. In July 2013, le Fey wrote a Tumblr post detailing alleged drama within the band, prompting an online backlash complete with disparaging comparisons to Yoko Ono. By the end of October 2013, France and le Fey had parted ways, and both moved back in with their parents in Southern California.
On January 2, 2014, Sam France filed for a domestic violence prevention restraining order against le Fey in Van Nuys Courthouse East in Los Angeles. Le Fey did not retain legal counsel, and represented herself. France was granted the restraining order, which restricted le Fey from coming near him and four of his family members for five years. According to court documents, the court denied France’s request for an order that le Fey not post “any reference” to him on the internet, citing freedom of speech.
Le Fey, in published interviews and on social media, has long denied allegations that she did anything worthy of a restraining order, repeatedly maintaining that France was the abusive person in their relationship. “The restraining order that was issued five years ago should never have been issued,” le Fey’s lawyer, Dan Kapelovitz, told Pitchfork in an emailed statement on May 8. “We believe that Mr. France sought this restraining order not because he is actually in fear of any physical harm, but rather he wants to silence Ms. Gomez from speaking out about their relationship and his physical assault on her.” (Le Fey’s legal name is Elizabeth Gomez.)
In his restraining order request, France alleged that an incident of physical abuse took place on October 16, 2013, when he and le Fey were living together in his house in Olympia. “Our fighting had gotten to a point that I feared for my life,” court documents filed by France read. “She entered my house while I was asleep, jumped on me, strangled me, and punched me. She threw one of my canes at me, missing my head.” (He was recovering from a broken leg at the time.)
France also claimed that le Fey went to his parents’ Los Angeles home twice without permission and opened the door. In his written statement, he claims that on one occasion, she told him over the phone, “I’m going to throw a fucking rock throught [sic] that window,” and, “If your mother blocks me I am going to fucking tase her in the face.”
France also alleged multiple instances of “online threats and harassment,” including snooping through his email accounts, threatening to post a video of him naked, and threatening to share private information. “Because I am a public figure in a popular band, she has been using this information to publically [sic] humiliate me and damage my career,” he wrote in his restraining order request. He also accused le Fey of slandering his bandmates with the July 2013 Tumblr post.
In a December 22, 2013, Facebook message, le Fey allegedly wrote, “I wish I never met any of you and I regret replying to your email and being in your yuppie music video,” according to court documents filed by France. “Just wait and See [sic] how it all unfolds ha ha hahahahah.”
On December 12, 2018, as the five-year deadline on the restraining order neared, France filed in Van Nuys Courthouse East to renew it. He claimed that le Fey continued to “verbally assault” him and “threaten physical harm” to him online, according to court documents. At a hearing on March 19, 2019, a judge granted his request, and the restraining order was renewed for five years.
Nine days later, on March 28, le Fey filed for her own five-year domestic violence prevention restraining order against France in Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. Le Fey alleged that in the summer of 2013, when they were living together in Olympia, France “hit me in the face” and “blood began gushing from my mouth,” court documents filed by le Fey read.
Le Fey claimed that a transcript of their January 2014 hearing showed France “admitting to hitting me,” according to the court documents. In that transcript, obtained by Pitchfork, France is asked by a judge if he “ever attacked [le Fey] physically.” France testified, “Once.” He referred to an incident in roughly July 2013 when they were living together in Olympia. “I was asleep,” the testimony reads. “We were both in bed. She woke me up by getting in my face and saying something about how I’m a bad boyfriend or something about her ex-boyfriend or something like that, and out of being startled, I went like that toward her.” The judge responded, “Showing a motion of your hand swiping away from you?” “Right,” France replied. “And she was right beside me because we were both laying down in bed and being startled I accidentally hit her lip and that’s the incident.” He denied otherwise ever hitting her, kicking her, or threatening her with physical violence of any type.
Le Fey also recounted an alleged incident that took place in October 2013. “Samuel’s mother came to visit him. He didn’t invite me and I felt hurt,” the restraining order request filed by le Fey reads. “I told him his mom was rude and only cared about his band making money. He FREAKED out, jumped on me on the bed, and pinned me down. He put his arms around my neck and threatened to kill me… He said if I didn’t ‘shut the fuck up!’ he would stab me with a knife he had. I just RAN out of the house.”
Le Fey claimed in court documents that France “used intimidation to try & keep me quiet about his abuse.” She claimed that he “cyber stalked” her “constantly” and posted “lies” about her—allegedly using multiple online accounts—that caused her to be “attacked nonstop” over the internet and “even get death threats,” according to her restraining order request. “I have NO interest in seeing him ever again,” the court documents read. “I am still deathly afraid of him.”
Le Fey’s most recent claim was that on June 10, 2018, France “used his official band Twitter to tweet to his thousands of fans that [le Fey] physically abused him daily, raped him, & [has] a murder plot against him,” according to the court documents, which included a screenshot of said tweet. (It has since been deleted.) She denied the accusations.
The court granted le Fey a temporary restraining order against France until the case is resolved. The next hearing is scheduled for June 6.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence and need to talk, we recommend this resource:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline