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Publicist for several Wilson County artists accused of sexual assault by former client

Jacob Smith • Nov 2, 2017 at 7:58 PM

A publicist for several prominent artists who live in Wilson County recently resigned his position after a former client accused him of sexual assault.

Former client Austin Cody Rick accused Kirt Webster, chief executive officer at Webster Public Relations in Nashville, of sexual assault.

Webster Public Relations manages several artists who either live in Wilson County or have in the past, including, Charlie Daniels, Collin Raye and Lorrie Morgan.

Rick originally brought the allegations to the public’s attention through a post on Facebook.

“He sexually assaulted me repeatedly, he drugged and sexually violated me, he offered me publicity opportunities and magazine columns in exchange for sexual acts,” said Rick in the social media post. “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.”

Rick started a GoFundMe page for the upcoming legal battle with Webster. He is trying to raise $15,000.

“I have probably, in the words of a high-profile journalist I’ve spoken with, just uncovered Nashville’s worst-kept secret,” said Rick. “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.”

Webster Public Relations posted on its website Wednesday that as of Nov. 1, the company is no longer in business. The firm later clarified in a statement that it would continue to operate under a different name.

“Earlier today, it was mistakenly posted on the Webster Public Relations’ website that the firm has been closed,” the firm said in a statement. “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.” 

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