Country Hitmaker Defends Kirt Webster, Says He ‘Has a Good Heart’
In the face of the controversy surrounding PR giant Kirt Webster, one of his artists is standing by him — and seemingly defending him against the numerous allegations of harassment and abuse that have been launched in the past two weeks.
“Kirt has a good heart,” longtime country music artist Janie Fricke tells Nashville's WSMV News 4. “He’s worked so hard to gain the notoriety that he’s gained.”
“He had a respect for artists from my era, from my time,” she adds. “Kirt is just a good person.”
Fricke is best known for her hitmaking status in the 1980s, winning the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards in 1982 and 1983. Her last studio album, Country Side of Bluegrass, was released in 2012.
She is one of several high-profile legacy artists signed or once signed to Webster's roster, with others including Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams, Jr., Tanya Tucker, the Oak Ridge Boys and Bill Anderson.
Fricke had strong words for those who are accusing Webster: “If they want to try to get some money or cause a lawsuit or get paid in a settlement, they’ll make up anything they want to,” she tells the news station. “There’s no witnesses. No one was there.”
Numerous employees of the firm have alleged a string of distressing stories, which range from allegations of verbal abuse and intimidation, to propositions and accusations of being drugged. However, nearly all of these have been made under condition of anonymity, with the accusers claiming fear of industry retaliation.
Webster’s controversy began when former country singer Austin Rick alleged last month that the executive sexually assaulted him multiple times over the period of 2007-2008, when he was a client of Webster’s and pursuing a music career under the name Austin Cody.
Two other of Webster's biggest clients — who are no longer with the firm — Parton and Rock, expressed that they hoped the allegations were not true due to their respective positive working relationships with the executive.
See All Artists That Have Left Webster PR So Far