Yesterday, a crazy woman sued Bob Dylan, our rock poet laureate, Nobel Prize winner, for sexual molestation. She said in her suit that the incident happened exactly in April and May of 1965, at New York’s Hotel Chelsea. She said he was 24, and she was 12. (She doesn’t explain how a 12 year would be in the hotel without parents.)
No one except this column bothered to check Dylan’s whereabouts for this time period. It wasn’t difficult. Dylan was mostly on the West Coast doing concerts in April, many with Joan Baez, continuing from March.
On April 26th, two days after a show in Seattle, Dylan flew to London. He was in the UK or Europe until June 2nd. During that time, he and Baez had their famed UK shows which DA Pennebaker filmed for “Don’t Look Back,” the most famous rock documentary of all time. Dylan also went to Portugal on vacation with future wife Sara Lowndes, with whom he would have four children. (He and Sara were married in the fall.)
So the accusations leveled by an anonymous woman who calls herself “J.C.” in the lawsuit are meritless. He wasn’t in New York, or the U.S., he wasn’t staying at the Chelsea Hotel. A friend of his from that time told me Dylan couldn’t have afforded a “swanky room” there (TMZ’s description). Indeed, it wouldn’t be until July, when his watershed single “Like a Rolling Stone”: was released, that Dylan would have a hit record. So there was no big money coming in prior to July 1965.
But the press didn’t care. They just repeated the lie of the lawsuit as if it were true. Even Rolling Stone, which made its life on access to Dylan for 40 years, went with it and didn’t question the story. Nice, huh? I joke that if Jann Wenner were still alive (no one’s seen him in eons) that would not have happened.
In his great song, “Idiot Wind,” Dylan predicted all this back in 1974.
“Someone’s got it in for me
They’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick
But when they will I can only guess”
He also said it best almost a decade earlier, succinctly: “It ain’t me, babe, it ain’t me you’re looking for.”
Shame on everyone.