Kirt Webster Leaves Webster PR Amid Sexual Assault Claims
Kirt Webster, owner and founder of Webster Public Relations, has left his business amid allegations of sexual assault. Webster represents country clients like Dolly Parton, Kid Rock, Kenny Rogers and the Oak Ridge Boys.
A representative of Webster's sent a note to media outlets saying that Webster will be taking time away to "focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him." Webster's longtime colleague Jeremy Westby will take over day to day operations and the company will be called Westby Public Relations. The company's website does not yet reflect this change.
Sexual assault allegations made by former country singer Austin Rick became public on Tuesday (Oct. 31). Rick (who went by the stage name Austin Cody) moved to Nashville in 2008 to pursue a music career. "I started working with Kirt, and before I knew it, it didn't take long before I was trapped in a hellhole that I could not get out of," he tells the Nashville Scene.
"I trusted him completely, and he wanted to make me a star just long enough to sexually molest and abuse me. And I remember one time he told me, ‘I want there to be fireworks in your career, but only if there's fireworks between us.’ And that was like pretty early on in our relationship."
Through a spokesman Webster has denied Rick's claims, telling several outlets including Nashville television station WSMV that his relationship with Rick was consensual. "It saddens Mr. Webster that nine years later, after Mr. Rick’s music career has been stagnant, Mr. Rick has taken the opportunistic approach of mischaracterizing that relationship and posting untrue allegations."
Rick stepped forward with his claims on Friday, saying he was inspired by the #MeToo campaign during which many people nationwide shared their stories of sexual assault or rape on social media. That campaign was inspired by claims made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Rick also started a Go Fund Me page to cover legal costs he's anticipating after accusing Webster of assault. According to WZTV-TV in Nashville, Metro Nashville PD will be investigating the allegations.
*An earlier version of this story stated that Kirt Webster had shuttered Webster PR. The public relations company later clarified, saying a statement to this effect made on their website was posted by mistake.
These Singers Left Webster PR After Allegations Became Public