Jordan Pruitt files sexual abuse lawsuit against Keith Thomas, producer of Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records

Asian News International

Sep 04, 2019 11:16:29 IST

Washington DC: Singer-songwriter Jordan Pruitt has filed a lawsuit accusing her former manager, Keith Thomas, of sexually abusing her when she was 14 years old. Pruitt also sued her former record label, Hollywood Records, and its parent company, the Walt Disney Co, alleging that they had failed to prevent the abuse. The suit alleges that the label forced her to work with Thomas as her mentor and producer, and allowed him to be unsupervised, even though it knew or should have known that he was a sexual abuser, reported Variety.

"Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money, and charts," the singer said in a statement to Variety. "Too often they fall short of protecting the young talent that they are 'supposed' to be caretakers for. Time and time again we see people in positions of power fail us. I couldn't be more disappointed in how Disney treats their underage talent like cash cows," the statement added.

 Jordan Pruitt files sexual abuse lawsuit against Keith Thomas, producer of Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records

Jordan Pruitt. Image from Twitter

The case represents a bombshell within the country music scene, where sexual misconduct allegations are still largely taboo even in the #MeToo era. The lawsuit was first filed on 14 August, using pseudonyms. Thomas referred questions to his attorney. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. An amended complaint with the true names attached was filed on Tuesday.

Pruitt signed with the label in 2005. She released two albums consecutively in 2007 and 2008. In her statement to Variety, she said that many in the Nashville music world fear the consequences of speaking up about sexual abuse.

"I am standing up and speaking out not only for myself but for the countless victims across the world who have never been given the opportunity for justice," Pruitt said. "It is extremely taboo for anyone to speak about sexual abuse, misconduct, and exploitation of minors in the ordinarily conservative and genteel South. Over and above decorum, many fear the repercussions of coming forward for example (getting blacklisted from the industry, losing work, having YOUR reputation tarnished). Too many victims, coming forward feels shameful. Even though the #metoo movement has been very powerful for many, there is still much work that needs to be done. No one should ever be punished for telling the truth and seeking justice, period." The suit claimed that Thomas groomed Pruitt for abuse, controlling her entire professional life, cutting off contact with boys her own age, and putting her down with negative comments about her looks and talents. The suit alleges that he would also shower her with compliments, saying he loved her and that no one understood how "special" their relationship was.

Updated Date: Sep 04, 2019 11:16:29 IST