A former client of Kirt Webster, the
celebrated publicist of Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels and Kenny Rogers,
says Webster sexually assaulted him over the course of a year.
Webster is denying the allegations, saying he had a consensual
relationship with the singer.
Austin C. Rick, who performed under the name Austin Cody, said he
suffered months of “terrible, terrible” abuse at the hands of Webster.
“He wanted for there to be fireworks in my career, but first there had
to be fireworks between he and I,” Rick told Fox News of his former
“He sexually assaulted me repeatedly, he drugged and sexually violated
me, he offered me publicity opportunities and magazine columns in
exchange for sexual acts. He paid me to keep my mouth shut,” Rick wrote
on his GoFundMe page and on Facebook. He is crowdfunding $15,000 for his
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The 30-year-old told us Webster demanded he strip naked in order to
prepare for a photo shoot with Playgirl magazine. Rick said Webster
performed oral sex on him.
He added, “[If] I stopped going with the flow, he would make sure no one
would ever hear my name.”
Webster’s PR firm told Fox News he had a relationship with Rick but it
“As a single adult, Mr. Webster has had multiple relationships over the
course of his professional life, all of which have been consensual. This
includes a brief relationship with Mr. Rick. It saddens Mr. Webster that
nine years later, after Mr. Rick’s music career has been stagnant, Mr.
Rick has taken the opportunistic approach of mischaracterizing that
relationship and posting untrue allegations.”
Rick told us he “knew it was time to escape” when he woke up the night
after an Easter party in Webster’s bed and had no recollection of the
“I knew that whatever was left of my dignity, I had to get out of there.
I felt like I might not survive,” he recalled. He said Webster continued
to contact him via social media up until this past June.
Rick insisted on sharing his story amid others coming forward with their
own stories of sexual abuse and harassment. In recent weeks, more than
90 women have accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of misconduct.
Webster moved to Nashville at age 20 and opened his PR firm without a
college degree or previous experience in the industry. He said in a 2014
interview that he operates by “not taking 'no' as an answer,” which he
believes has made him a “power publicist.”