NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Rick came out with sexual misconduct allegations against publicist Kirt Webster nearly a month ago, and while it shook up the publicity scene on Music Row, many legendary artists and industry professionals have kept quiet.
One of Webster's biggest clients was Dolly Parton, and while she has spoken minimally about the topic, her sister, Stella Parton, has spoken out about the allegations.
"I find it very sad that our industry has kept it's lips zipped," Parton said. "I have to call it what it is. It's a legacy of lies."
Stella Parton said her sister believes she's too close to the topic to speak out until more details come to light.
"If no one else will speak out on her behalf and she doesn't feel like it's time for her to do so, then I damn well will," Parton said, saying she had heard of questionable behavior from Webster, but never suspected it went as deep as has been alleged. She was furious when she heard the allegations. "He was exploiting his working relationship with my sister, that's when I really got livid."
As more people came forward with allegations, it became clear to many that it was not a one-time thing.
"There's so many people that, yes, I think they can say he's a good publicist, a very good one, but I think a lot of people would agree, he's not a good person," Cody Andersen, a former employee of Webster PR, said.
Andersen worked for Webster for a short time in 2010, starting as an intern before becoming a paid employee.
As a transgender man, he was excited to have a boss who accepted him for who he was, and the work environment was loose and fun, but soon, his excitement turned into a self-described nightmare one night at the office.
"I'm in the bathroom doorway and he's like, 'do you want to?' and I was like, 'wanna do what?'" Andersen recalled, saying Webster asked him to have sex. Andersen declined, but said harassing behavior continued until he left.
"I'm definitely no psychologist, but if I were, I would totally diagnose him as a sociopath," Andersen said of Webster.
Both Andersen and Parton believe now is the time to speak out to keep this story alive and to make sure no other forms of sexual misconduct happen again in the music industry or any other industry in Nashville.
"We have a great window of opportunity here to speak out and condemn this type of behavior," Parton said.
Following Austin Rick's allegations, no charges were filed against Kirt Webster, and as of the writing of this article, it's unclear whether any other accusers' accusations could turn into charges based on validity or any statute of limitations.