Dolly Parton, Kid Rock Speak Out About Kirt Webster Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Dolly Parton and Kid Rock -- two former Webster PR clients -- have spoken out about the sexual misconduct allegations against Kirt Webster. Both artists are among those who have severed ties with the public relations company in the days since ex-country artist Austin Rick, as well as another artist and a number of former employees, accused Webster, the company's president and CEO, of inappropriate and abusive behavior.
In a tweet sent out on Thursday evening (Nov. 2), Parton praised Webster's skills as a publicist and noted their long working relationship; she adds, "I am hoping that the accusations are not true."
Rock's comments, meanwhile -- which were made via the Lefsetz Letter industry newsletter -- are a bit stronger in tone. The singer says he takes the allegations against Webster "dead seriously," and that he "cancelled his and his companies [sic] services upon not only hearing about these, but other rumors that are starting to swirl."
"I never witnessed or heard about any of this outside that he was probably gay, which I could care less about," Rock writes (quote via Rolling Stone). "I hope to god this s--t 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."
Rock concludes his statement by comparing sexual harassment to cancer: "We all know someone affected by it," he says, "and it has to stop."
In a Nashville Scene story published on Tuesday (Oct. 31), former country singer Rick accused Webster of sexually molesting and abusing him, paying Rick to keep quiet and threatening to sabotage Rick's career if he didn't. In a statement via a spokesperson, Webster denies Rick's claims, noting that Webster, "as a single adult ... has had multiple relationships over the course of his professional life, all of which have been consensual ... includ[ing] a brief relationship with Mr. Rick."
In the days since Rick's allegations against Webster were made public, Webster PR announced Webster's departure from the company "to focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him." At that time, it was announced that the company would re-brand as Westby PR, and that "[t]he company's work on behalf of its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, Kirt's longstanding colleague."
Nashville police have determined that they will not be able to pursue criminal charges against Webster in terms of Rick's claims due to a statute of limitations. However, charges related to other allegations may still be filed, and Rick could still file a civil lawsuit.
"I'm hoping that this is what it was supposed to boil down to, and I'm hoping to find some peace and some closure to this entire storyline," Rick says. "These things happened to me, I think they've happened to other people, and I want to stop them."