Country Music People December 2017 - Page 4

cmp DECEMBER 2017 Volume 48 Number 12 Issue 574 Editor Duncan Warwick Contributors David Allan, Janet Aspley, Donnie Ayers, Craig Baguley, Larry Delaney, Don Cusic, Julie Flaskett, Kelly Gregory, Michael Hingston, Tony Ives, Spencer Leigh, John Lomax III, , Douglas McPherson, Stephen O’Hanlon, Roland Purdy, Adrian Peel, Paul Riley, Wayne Smart, Chris Smith, Alison Stokes, Tom Travis, Walt Trott, Jack Watkins Assistant editor / Special projects coordinator Kelly Gregory Photographers Helen Parish, Patricia Presley, Ian Tilbury, Barry Dixon, Billie McAleer Printed by Henry Stone Printers Distributor Seymour International Press Distributors Ltd. 2 East Poultry Avenue London EC1A 9PT Telephone +44 020 7429 4000 Fax +44 020 7429 4001 Country Music People is published the last Thursday of each month by KICKIN’ CUTS LIMITED 24 Darley Close, Wittering, Peterborough PE8 6EQ, UK Telephone +44 01780 - 783689 ©2017 Kickin’ Cuts Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means without the prior written permission of the Publisher. The Publisher accepts no responsibility for statement of fact or opinion expressed by contributors. The views of the contributors are not necessarily those of Country Music People or its editor. 4 cmp - DECEMBER 2017 News Walt Trott in Nashville Duncan Warwick in London Top Nashville T he growing awareness of sexual misconduct in our society, following alleged abuses by Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes and more recently Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., James Toback and Dustin Hoffman, has spread to the country music community. In a rippling effect, Nashville publicist Kirt Webster, 43 (above), has been accused of sexual abuse and creating a hostile work environment at his public relations firm. Prior to The Tennessean daily newspaper’s Nov. 2 page one headline, Webster Public Relations represented such celebrated clients as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Brenda Lee and the Oak Ridge Boys. Although on Nov. 1, we noted with curiosity that Kirt’s former chief publicist Scott Adkins dispatched he had opened his own agency, joined by some of Webster’s top clients, which alerted us something was amiss. In the weekly tabloid Nashville Scene, editor Steve Cavendish claimed ex-country singer Rick Cody Austin accuses Webster of serious “sexual misconduct.” Reportedly, the Maryland native was attempting to launch a career and Brett Beavers, a Nashville producer he’d engaged, introduced him to Kirt, who expressed interest in promoting him as an artist. The singer laments he soon found himself “trapped in a hell-hole” he couldn’t escape. Cavendish wrote he was 18, but actually Rick was a bit older by the time the two met, recalling: “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.” Webster’s spokesperson denied the singer’s accusation: “As a single adult, Mr. Webster has had multiple relationships over the course of his professional life, all of which have been consensual. This includes a brief relationship with Mr. Rick. 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.” Although Rick denies any “relationship,” he pinpoints several separate occasions that his publicist supposedly made moves on him, including having him strip down to show his fitness for posing in Playgirl magazine (which by then boasted mostly gay subscribers); then during an Easter 2008 party at Kirt’s house, his host allegedly fondled him in a hot tub; and when he allegedly had been drugged, awoke in Kirt’s bed, to discover him “hugging me, kissing me all over my face and mouth, and neck and lips... I know I was sexually assaulted. I don’t know if I was raped.” The Tennessean devoted ample space to Kirt’s reported misconduct, prompting further alleg F2'rf&W"VVW2v&VgW6VBFWBFV"W2&RV&Ɨ6VB'W@VvVFǒ6FVB6FVG2bFV"&726vp&w&27GW&W2W2&&FPFV6rBfW&&'W6RVFR'N( 06ƖVB&7FW"GvFVBFvf7B2FRvVVv&RvFFǒVF&W'G2खFǒ2FRWw2'&RvV'7FW"vFG&Wpg&2f&WGFrG'W7FVB767FBW&VאvW7F'6&vRB7VvvW7FrR6vPFvW7F'"vRRf7W6VB( 6&GFpFRVw&VvW2BVG'VRVvF2FPv7B( fvrVvFfR&W76RF2FVF'&vVVBvW7F'6vV@6W'6RBr62RVgBFRvV7F7F'@2v"f&66GBF2&W'FVFǒW&VגB&VV&RFvV'7FW.( 2VVR'WB66R7FVBFvBRFWFs( g&W67F'BWrf&( ФFRFW'fVrV'266R'Frv0vFvV'7FW""&6VgBFvVBFP&ג'WBFVF66&vVBGVRFVRW'Bfǒw&GVFVBg&FRVfW'6G