NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Around 30 clients were no longer listed on the roster for Westby Public Relations, formerly Webster Public Relations, following recent allegations of sexual assault against Kirt Webster.
The high-profile firm, Webster PR, updated its website Wednesday saying it’s “no longer in business;" however, those with the firm later said that was stated incorrectly and added they will instead operate under a new name, Westby PR.
On Thursday, the following artists were no longer listed with Westby PR:
- Dolly Parton
- Kenny Rogers
- Tanya Tucker
- Kid Rock
- Justin Moore
- Bill Anderson
- Aaron Lewis
- Big & Rich
- John Conlee
- Kenny G
- Kiefer Sutherland
- Lee Greenwood
- Leroy Van Dyke
- Roy Clark
- Oak Ridge Boys
- Don McLean
- Jeannie Seely
- Billy Ray Cyrus
- Cyndi Lauper
- Jimmy Fortune
- Olivia Lane
- Lucas Hoge
- Wanda Jackson
- Hank Williams Jr.
- Crystal Gayle
- John Anderson
- The Judds
The following corporate clients were also leaving:
- Band Against Cancer
- NATD Honors
- NRA Country
- ‘70s Rock & Romance Cruise
- Southern Rock Cruise
- The Country Music Cruise
- Flower Power Cruise
- Malt Shop Memorials Cruise
- Ship-Hop Cruise, Starring I Love the 90s
- Soul Train Cruise
The name change came after former country singer Austin Rick accused CEO Kirt Webster of sexual assault.
"I decided that I want to shine a light on the monster that is Kirt Webster and I want to hopefully give a voice or at least some confidence and prevent anyone else from becoming his victim in the future," said Rick.
He said Webster continued to reach out to him for years, even sent text messages as recently as this summer.
Through a spokesperson Webster denied the allegations saying:
"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."
117 Entertainment Group President & CEO Zach Farnum worked for Webster PR for about a year before starting his own firm, representing names like Jerry Lee Lewis and Randy Travis.
"A lot of publicists in town have gone through Webster, a lot of successful publicists. It's sort of the training ground of sorts for some publicists," said Farnum.
While he didn't want to touch on the work environment at Webster, he said that these allegations will have an impact, whether they're true or not.
"I feel for a lot of the people there, not only the employees, but the artists," said Farnum.
We've reached out to multiple artists about the recent allegations, with some saying they have no comment.
"I have no comment. I have nothing ongoing with Webster right now. We have worked together before, but we have no, we have no connections right now with the exception of The Journey Home Foundation which is a month to month thing, which means if we don't do business with him next month, we don't do it. But I have no comment. That's Mr. Webster's private life, and I know absolutely nothing about it,” country music legend Charlie Daniels told NewsChannel 5 at an event on Thursday.
Dolly Parton tweeted about the allegations Thursday afternoon, saying she hoped they weren't true.
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.— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) November 2, 2017
Country rock artist Kid Rock gave the following response a request for comment:
“I hope to god this (expletive) he is being accused of is not true as he has been nothing but a good friend to me. But if it comes to light that it is, I will be the first to cut the head off the snake.”
“I never witnessed or heard about any of this outside that he was probably gay, which I could care less about. We (BMG) canceled his and his companies (sic) services upon not only hearing about these, but other rumors that are starting to swirl.
“Unfortunately, I believe sexual harassment is like cancer. We all know someone affected by it and it has to stop.”
Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said they will not be pursuing charges in the case as of right now.
Detectives spoke with Rick about the allegations and said they cannot be acted on because they concern an incident that allegedly took place nine years ago. Police said the statute of limitations has been set at eight years.