Singer Who Accused Publicist Kirt Webster of Sexual Assault Announces Tell-All Book
Austin Rick, whose accusations of sexual assault against former Nashville power player Kirt Webster helped bring Webster's empire crashing down, has announced that he is writing a tell-all book about his experiences with the powerful publicist.
For years, Webster was one of the most powerful public relations executives in Music City whose roster included legends Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Lee Greenwood, Charlie Daniels and more, as well as younger stars including Justin Moore, Kid Rock, William Michael Morgan and many others. In October 2017, Rick — who performed under the name Austin Cody from 2007-2008, when the then 21-year-old aspiring star was a client of Webster's — came forward with allegations against Webster that included intimidation, sexual harassment and repeated sexual assaults, culminating in what he says was an incident in which Webster drugged and assaulted him.
Within days, many more former employees and associates of Webster's came forward with similar stories, portraying Webster PR as a "toxic" work environment in which belittling, bullying, sexual harassment and assault were common workplace occurrences. Webster stepped down from his position, and instead of becoming a sweeping #MeToo or #TimesUp moment of reckoning for Nashville and country music, the news receded to a blip on the radar. Rick has spoken up several times since about the need for Nashville to have its own big moment, and now he's decided to step up further by documenting his trials and travails in Nashville in a full-length book.
Speaking to Fox News on Monday (June 5), Rick revealed that his upcoming book is titled Surviving Possession: Inside Kirt Webster's Twisted Toy Chest.
These Artists Left Webster PR Amid Allegations
"In the book, I recount in vivid detail my days and months spent with Kirt," Rick says. "I cast light on the inner workings of his system of serial human predation."
Rick is targeting not just Webster, but the Nashville system itself. In February, he called Nashville's overall lack of response to the #MeToo movement, and his revelations in particular, "shameful."
"I explore the dynamic, as I've directly experienced it...and the consequences of each in an overly-romanticized country music industry," he tells Fox of his book. "I unmask how parts of Music City actually operate, and I do it unapologetically and uninterrupted. It’s very much time the truth be spoken in its long, raw form."
Rick tells Billboard that his announcement already has some of his former associates nervous.
"I’m going to reserve names and details for the book. I will say, though, that I’ve very recently been in contact with a few significant industry shot-callers who each sought my assurance that they wouldn’t be cast in a negative light in my book," he shares. "Of course, no assurances were given, as the truth is the truth."