Austin Rick Releasing Tell-All Book About Alleged Abuser Kirt Webster
Austin Rick (aka Austin Cody) has announced that he will be releasing a book that chronicles the sexual abuse and misconduct that he says he experienced at the hands of ex-Nashville publicist Kirt Webster. The former country music singer says that Surviving Possession: Inside Kirt Webster’s Twisted Toy Chest is an attempt to end the country music industry's silence about the misbehavior that he believes is still taking place.
"I recount in vivid detail my days and months spent with Kirt. I cast light on the inner workings of his system of serial human predation," Rick shares in an email to media members. "It’s absolutely still going on in Nashville, and in other entertainment hubs around the country. There are people, right now, with ultimatums being slung over their heads ..."
In November, Webster's career as one of Music City's top publicists came to a screeching halt when numerous former employees and a fellow artist followed up Rick's allegations with their own accusations against the high-profile PR executive. Webster has denied any wrongdoing, calling the encounter with Rick consensual. Rick is unable to press criminal charges since the statute of limitations has passed on the events of 2008-09, but he can still pursue a civil case, and other accusers are within limits to press criminal charges.
Many of Webster PR's big-name clients, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Big & Rich, Justin Moore, Tanya Tucker, Kid Rock and Olivia Lane made an exodus from the firm as news of the scandal broke. While Parton and Rock spoke publicly about the move, many others left quietly, and some even defended the publicist.
"I think is important to note is that people working in the business knew -- and still know -- that to speak out is to be kicked out." Rick says, addressing the lack of support he has felt.
After Webster's harassment, Rick left his country music career behind and joined the Army, then later went back to school at the University of North Carolina; he says that he has been in therapy for seven years, has overdosed and once slit his wrists. He posted his original allegations to Facebook in the fall of 2017, inspired by those who had come forward about their experiences with sexual harassment via the #MeToo movement. Rick also created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help with legal fees in an anticipated civil suit.