NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former employees of Kirt Webster say he created a toxic environment, where employees were constantly belittled or harassed.
Sometimes the public relations mogul would even play pornography on his cell phone in the office, and the behavior allegedly went on for years.
Through various conversations and interviews NewsChannel 5 has learned that Webster also used his position as Dolly Parton’s public relations representative to solicit sexually explicit photos from fans hoping to meet the country music star.
“There would be Dolly super fans, they were young, gay males. They would do anything to meet Dolly and Kirt would push that, he would get them to send in d--- pics. He’d show them off laughing and say ‘this guy actually sent a picture of his d---,’” one former employee said in a phone interview.
The employee, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation in the music industry, says that Webster constantly created an environment where employees felt harassed or intimidated. This person also says that turnover at Webster Public Relations was high because employees never felt comfortable speaking out about the way they were being treated by Webster.
“You have this hopelessness, you lose your self-esteem and self-worth … you’re working in this environment which is hostile and volatile and unstable and you just think ‘this is working in music,’” the former employee added.
“I had young male interns who would come to me and show me conversations with Kirt at 1 a.m. where he was asking them to come over to his house. A lot of people I’ve talked to are straight men and they don’t want to come forward,” this person added.
The former employee also believes that Webster used his position as Dolly Parton’s PR rep. to bring in younger up and coming artists.
“He took money from lesser known acts, and said you’ll be on the same PR company as Dolly and these artists would say ‘thank you’, he’d take their money and then get them nothing. He made a lot of promises he didn’t keep,” the former employee continued.
Dolly Parton responded to the sexual assault and harrassment allegations against Webster in a tweet Thursday afternoon.
"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."
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.
This all comes as the one-time music industry mogul seems to be quickly losing the business he has spent years trying to create. On Thursday a number of well-known artists, including Dolly Parton and Kid Rock were no longer listed on the agencies website.
NewsChannel 5 attempted unsuccessfully on Thursday to reach Kirt Webster but on Wednesday he released this statement:
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
But former employees NewsChannel 5 spoke with expressed concern about Webster simply changing the name of his company.
“It’s so infuriating to see that their plan is ‘we’ll fake everyone into thinking Kirt stepped away from the business,’" one person said.
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.