Source: ‘No Merit’ to Ex-Steel Magnolia Singer’s Twitter Allegations
A source at Live Nation has responded to shocking allegations against one of the company's most powerful country music executives, saying, "there is absolutely, positively no merit" to the claim that he sexually assaulted a country singer six years ago.
Former Steel Magnolia singer and 2015 The Voice runner-up Meghan Linsey made headlines when she posted to Facebook after the Oct. 9 presidential debate, saying Donald Trump’s much-publicized remarks about women that were captured on tape in 2005 prompted her to come forward with the story of an alleged sexual assault that she says took place in 2010, when she was touring with Steel Magnolia.
The duo consisted of Linsey and her then-fiancé, Joshua Scott Jones, and though they have been broken up personally and professionally for years, Jones turned to Twitter after Linsey's post to name who he claims was responsible. Linsey declined to name her alleged attacker when contacted by Yahoo, but Jones called out Live Nation President of Country Touring Brian O'Connell as the man he says touched and threatened her.
A source at Live Nation says that is not the case. "I can tell you that there is absolutely, positively no merit to the claim," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, tells Taste of Country.
"I hate to even give it the time, frankly, to talk about it, because it's just patently untrue. I don't know why he pointed the finger at Brian, but I would just tell you to consider the source," that person adds, calling Jones' credibility into question over his past history with addiction.
Linsey's original post on Facebook alleged that "A very powerful man in the music business grabbed up my skirt. He was groping me and proceeded to try to pick me up by my ass on a bus in front of a lot of important people,” adding that he seemed "embarrassed and angry" when she told him to stop.
Afterward, Linsey says she told her manager, a woman, who "told me to never breathe a word of that story to anyone ever. I told the head of my label and he told me the same thing. They both said if I wanted to have a career in country music then I could never say anything about it out loud, to anyone."
Big Machine Label Group head Scott Borchetta tells Fox 411 that he had no knowledge of any alleged attack prior to Linsey coming forward.
“Meghan Linsey is a highly regarded former member of the Big Machine Label Group and we would never condone, let alone silence an artist on this label who experienced this kind of behavior,” he states. “We have a clear-cut HR protocol for these types of occurrences, and while Meghan never came to me about any such incident, I checked our records and with our staff to see if she’d gone to someone else within the company. There is no record, nor any recollection from me or the staff of the incident she’s describing. Had it come to our attention, we would have certainly acted quickly and decisively on her behalf.”
Jones turned to Twitter to vent in response Borchetta's comments, tweeting a flurry of messages which named O'Connell and derided Borchetta.
O'Connell did not respond to calls seeking comment, but the source inside Live Nation tells Taste of Country, "I want to give some context. You're familiar with Joshua who posted about Brian O’Connell? This guy is not credible. He's had a long, storied and public struggle with drugs and alcohol, which he shared publicly on his Twitter handle until he took it off a day or so ago. He apparently also has an album he is actively promoting which he has been tweeting about."
Jones has been public about the fact that he went into rehab in 2011. In an email to ToC, he clarifies that the reason he deleted the tweet referencing drugs — captured in a screen shot in the gallery above — "was out of respect for my significant other and her 13 year-old-daughter. And let me be clear, that is the only reason I took it down. I was using satire which is very important as an artist and I feel that was clear and doesn't need much explanation."
"Secondly, I have been reprimanded very publicly, personally and professionally for my past 'behavior,'" he adds.
Jones is not backing down from the allegations that he made via Twitter, however.
"I hold no power or position at this time to any degree like that of Brian O'Connell," he says via email, "but with power comes great responsibility to not abuse it so grotesquely. I stand by what I say. I speak truth. Sometimes you realize you picked a fight with the wrong guy, and in this case, that guy is me. And yes, my third record is coming soon and it's a royal flush."
Linsey has not commented further on the matter.
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