Kirt Webster, a Nashville country music publicist to stars like Dolly Parton, Justin Moore, Kenny Rogers and the Oak Ridge Boys, has left his business after allegations of multiple sexual assaults came to light.
Webster’s longtime associate, Jeremy Westby, will be taking over day-to-day operations of the firm and rename it under Westby Public Relations.
The following was released on WebsterPR.com:
Earlier today, it was mistakenly posted on the Webster Public Relations’ website that the firm has been closed. This was stated incorrectly. Webster Public Relations will continue operating – but under the name Westby Public Relations – while Kirt Webster takes some time away from the business to focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him. The company’s work on behalf of its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, Kirt’s longstanding colleague.
On his GoFundMe page, Rick is asking for donations to help him build a legal team, sharing:
My name is Austin, and I know that men don’t talk about these things as often, but I have been victimized by a very powerful businessman over the period of a year. I didn’t know what to do and how to say no, because he held such power over my music career and overtly reminded me of it.
I recognize that many are dealing with their own unique pain and recovery. I thank and applaud them for being role models and for stepping out to throw their monsters into the light of day. You are all heroes.
The point of my message is, selfishly, in the hope that getting it out of my own head and to you and a few industry folks finally, will help me reach some kind of relief/peace of mind in knowing that people know the truth about what was really happening while I was faking smiles, offering hugs and signing fans’ autographs. I was terrified for my life.
So, here goes.
In 2008, Kirt Webster, the CEO of the powerful Nashville-based “Webster Public Relations” did terrible, terrible things to me. 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 for years — up until this year, even.
I know this is perhaps an awkward statement for you to read because I don’t feel like a whole human being when I remember some of the explicit events. But, I need people to truly know what actually happened to me down there, during that time.
Most importantly, is that I want to help in any way I can to ensure that no future victim of Kirt’s, or of any other monter’s, has to go through the year of torment that I did. I want to be a protector, of sorts. I want others who were victimized before me to feel safe and secure in telling their own stories and in receiving the support they need and deserve.
I am likely going to find myself in a civil court battle. I have probably, in the words of a high-profile journalist I’ve spoken with, just uncovered Nashville’s worst-kept secret. I cannot do this alone, and I would be so very grateful to anyone who can spare some change or a few dollars to support both my legal battle to come, as well as the #MeToo campaign in honor of victims everywhere.
I don’t know how soon any of this is going to come to fruition, but I have a sense that it is is going to be soon. I’ve been contacted by more national and local media than I can count on one hand, and I have no plans of backing off until Kirt Webster and his accomplices are brought to face their crimes.
Thank you. Again, anything and everything helps. I had no idea where to set my goal for this, and so I arbitrarily made it 1,000. I’m hoping I will not require that much for a legal team, but then again I don’t know.
Your support means the world. Please share and pass along the battle that is likely to come, and I will be sure to keep everyone updated regarding any media coverage and wherever those interested can read about our progress against these monsters.
Austin Cody Rick
Through a spokesman, Webster responded to the allegations, “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.”