Sign up for newsletter
 

Webster PR loses clients, more claims surface

Thursday, November 2, 2017 – Webster Public Relations has lost many clients, including Kid Rock, Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus, in the wake of allegations that Kirt Webster, who headed the firm, engaged in sexual misconduct.

Webster, a key player in the country music PR field, was accused by a former client Austin Rick, who performed as Austin Cody, of sexually forcing himself on the young singer about nine years ago. Webster also was accused by unnamed staffers in published reports of operating a toxic work space and inappropriate touching and comments by others.

The Tennessean reported today that a total of 13 people have brought accusations against Webster. The newspaper said that three more people came forward in the past day, including a former household contractor who claimed that Webster molested him during a job interview in 2009, a former office manager who claimed Webster twice groped him in 2014 and a former personal assistant who alleged he was subject to unwanted touching and verbal abuse in 2015.

Rick went public on Oct. 27 on Facebook with a detailed account leveled at Webster that he engaged in pressured and unwanted sexual relations. Rick said, "He sexually assaulted me repeatedly, he drugged and sexually violated me, he offered me publicity opportunities and magazine columns in exchange for sexual acts. He paid me to keep my mouth shut. And he did everything under threat that he'd make sure nobody in the industry ever heard my name again. It took me a year to escape from him and get away to where he couldn't find me or reach me any longer - although he still continued to harass me via phone and text messages." Webster denied the allegations.

In a post on her Twitter account Thursday night, Parton said, "I've worked with Kirt Webster for many years and he has done a wonderful job. I am hoping that the accusations are not true."

The USA Today Network reported that Webster "traded explicit photographs of individuals and sexual favors for passes to meet-and-greet sessions with Parton."

Webster PR's web site no longer lists any clients with which it is working. There are news articles about Kenny Rogers, the Bellamy Brothers, Parton and Cyrus from earlier this week.

Webster's name has been excised from the web site itself, and while the site listed staffers yesterday, it no longer does today.

Other Webster clients included Big & Rich, Aaron Lewis, Janie Fricke, Hank Williams Jr., Bill Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Deborah Allen, Don McLean, Jeannie Seely, Jimmy Fortune, John Conlee, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kenny G, Locash, Lucas Hoge, Olivia Lane, Sam Moore, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tim Rushlow, William Michael Morgan, Wanda Jackson and Randy Travis.

In the wake of the allegations by Rich, Webster was said to be taking a leave from the company, which was being rebranded as Westby PR. Jeremy Westby worked at Webster PR.

On its web site, Westby listed its clients as The Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Clark, KC & the Sunshine Band, Kenny G, Allen, McLean, Conlee, Jackson, Moore, Hoge , Jackson and NRA Country.

Cyrus is now with Adkins Publicity, just launched by Scott Adkins, who had worked for Webster as a vice president.

Megan Gill, who works at Webster, acknowledged in an email that she was no longer working with Cyrus, but did not answer a question about who she is working with.

Rick has launched a GoFundMe campaign for legal and PR purposes as he has said he is expecting Webster to file a civil suit against him.

Police said on Thursday they would not pursue charges against Webster due to a statue of limitations, according to The Tennessean.

More news for Billy Ray Cyrus

CD reviews for Billy Ray Cyrus

Thin Line CD review - Thin Line
Originally conceived of as a project to honor his favorite songwriters and artists, Billy Ray Cyrus found his latest outing taking on a life of its own. Infused with plenty of classic country sentiments and songs written and made popular by artists like Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, among many others, the record shimmers with the impact and influence of those same artists as Cyrus showcases the music that he loves while making it his own. Joining Cyrus in this »»»
Change My Mind CD review - Change My Mind
Change My Mind Blue Cadillac Music Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln No one can accuse Billy Ray Cyrus of not working hard enough. He's put out 12 releases (beginning with 1992's massive "Some Gave All"), all while keeping a regular TV acting slate. But he shows no sign of slowing down, and one can definitely sense that tireless quality here. There's a "more is more" philosophy coloring nearly the whole first half of the proceedings. Busy country/rock arrangements »»»
Back To Tennessee CD review - Back To Tennessee
A lot has happened to Billy Ray Cyrus the last few years, going from the star of the family to second fiddle thanks to daughter Hannah. But the success of Miley Cyrus has also fueled more interest in what her dad is doing. This new album begins with the title track, which is rather mainstream, middle-of-the-road country pop fodder that doesn't really grab the listener. But he gets going on Thrillbilly, with far more bite and oomph to it, a rootsy roadhouse rocker that can't fail even »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Lambert refuses to rest on laurels – Watching this stop on Miranda Lambert's "Livin' Like Hippies Tour," one is struck by just how many great songs the country singer/songwriter already has in her repertoire. With most artists, it's relatively easy to guess which song a performer will choose to close a show. But Lambert has so many winners to pick from, many... »»»
Concert Review: DBT rocks on – Drive-By Truckers still sometimes get miscategorized as alt.-country, but who's kidding whom? With three electric guitarists upfront exchanging hard rock licks all night, this is a blistering Southern rock band. Hitting the stage just before 10, the band played a satisfying 2-hour-plus set. At 11:40, Patterson Hood announced the band would be... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Tyminski goes dark Dan Tyminski (known simply as "Tyminski" on his 2017 release "Southern Gothic") has traditional music roots and unassailable bluegrass street cred especially given his membership in Alison Krauss' Union Station. He is also a powerful songwriter and has been writing songs for himself and others for years now.... »»»
Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
The Cadillac Three creates its "Legacy" William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
Staggered CD review - Staggered
East Nashville may be known as "the" Americana hotbed these days, but some of the talent there is very much verging on rock 'n roll. This is the case with Lynn Taylor & the BarFlies on their third release, a collection of personal tunes by the front man. »»»
American Folk soundtrack CD review - American Folk soundtrack
The soundtrack for the independent film, "American Folk," stars two real-life singer-songwriters played by Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth, who also contribute the bulk of the material on the soundtrack. Understanding the plot of the film helps explain both the sequence and content of the track list. »»»
Rifles and Rosary Beads CD review - Rifles and Rosary Beads
Mary Gauthier has built her career on honest, sometimes brutally and achingly self-confessional songs. This is the first time that she has focused on experiences other than her own, and it could become not only the strongest album of her career but, in its own way, a landmark album. »»»
Work CD review - Work
Matt Hectorne's new album - his third solo effort - offers another example of the rewards that can come through the joy of discovery. While Hectorne makes no attempt to bend the boundaries as far as a patented Americana sound is concerned, the success he achieves here is the result of him doing quite the opposite, that is, sounding like a revered veteran who mastered the form quite quickly in his career.  »»»
Hallelujah Nights CD review - Hallelujah Nights
LANCO's "Greatest Love Story" is a radio single saturated in undeniable warmth and sweetness. But then, the attitude in "We Do" reeks of Florida Georgia Line and the chorus to "Singin' at The Stars" also brings country music's most annoying duo to mind. LANCO is a new act, and the jury's still on just which direction this five-piece will go. »»»
Ruins CD review - Ruins
With their stunning new album "Ruins," First Aid Kit further ascend to unexpected heights of superstardom, a status a few knowing pundits have been predicting for the Swedish sisters since the beginning. »»»