This week, Pitchfork reported that a 372-page document of evidence had recently been filed by lawyers for Womack, with one attorney describing text messages included in the filing as “inculpatory” in nature.
“The vigor with which FAE and Mercer fought to shield this information from the public record speaks volumes as to the inculpatory nature of these text messages,” Paul Matiasic, an attorney for the Hellboy artist’s mother, told the publication. Last October, lawyers for both FAE (Peep’s management team) and tour manager Belinda Mercer asked for multiple pages of documents (texts among them) to be sealed.
Writing in response to the requested sealing, which saw FAE and Mercer lawyers arguing that some of the info was self-incriminating, a lawyer for Womack pushed back by saying the documents helped tell a larger story of “the drug-infected mismanagement” that, in their words, “led to [Peep’s] death.”
Meanwhile, the documents in question—aside from a small number of redactions—were last month determined by a judge to not be in need of sealing. Instead, per this week’s report, excerpts now being made public paint a broader picture of the scope of the wrongful death lawsuit, which also names other figures that were at one time crucial to the operation behind Peep’s career.
The texts at the center of the latest report date back to Sept. 25, 2017. At the time, what would ultimately become Peep’s final tour was set to begin in a matter of days. On Nov. 15, Peep was found dead on his bus from what was later confirmed to be an accidental drug overdose.
Furthermore, the texts—which are joined among the reported evidence by deposition excerpts and more—are argued by Womack’s lawyers to show that the U.S. tour was “mishandled” by both FAE and Mercer, who they allege served as the “tour drug dealer” in a fashion that contributed to the 21-year-old artist’s tragic death.
“What these documents mostly contain are exchanges that reveal FAE tour management as dangerous, discordant, inept, and engaged in conduct that contributed to [Peep]’s death,” Womack’s lawyers have argued, per Pitchfork.
This week, a hearing on FAE’s motion for summary judgment in the case is set to take place. Womack’s suit was filed back in 2019 and also sees FAE CEO Sarah Stennett and manager Bryant “Chase” Ortega named. Previously, FAE lawyers have argued that Peep’s contract protected them from liability with regards to alleged negligence.
In the years since Peep’s passing, the young artist’s work has continued to be celebrated by fans and fellow creatives alike. A number of previously rare Peep projects have also been posthumously released to streaming services, including the acclaimed 2016 tape Hellboy. Most recently, fans were treated with the release of Peep and producer Harry Fraud’s three-track High Fashion EP. Sessions for the project were conducted in 2017, the same year as the release of Peep’s debut studio album Come Over When You’re Sober Pt. 1.
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