Singer Jordan Pruitt Accuses Nashville Producer Keith Thomas of Sexual Abuse
Jordan Pruitt, a former The Voice contestant, has filed a lawsuit against Keith Thomas, a longtime Nashville producer and manager, naming him as her "molester." The suit claims that Thomas, Pruitt's former manager, sexually abused Pruitt while they worked together in the mid-2000s.
According to People, Pruitt filed suit against Thomas; his company, Levosia Entertainment; her former record label, Hollywood Records; and the Walt Disney Co., Hollywood Records' parent company, alleging that Thomas' abuse began when Pruitt was just 14 years old and continued until just before she turned 16, and that Hollywood Records and Disney failed to prevent it. Pruitt had originally filed her lawsuit on Aug. 14, using a pseudonym, but on Friday (Aug. 30), she named both herself and Thomas in a new filing, after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted a request from Pruitt to identify them.
"3 weeks ago as ‘Jane Doe’ I filed a lawsuit against my molester and those who enabled him," Pruitt shared on Instagram on Tuesday (Sept. 3). “No more Jane Doe. I am Jordan Pruitt."
Pruitt was discovered after recording a demo album in 2005. After signing with Hollywood Records, her debut single, "Outside Looking In," was released in 2006, and her debut album, No Ordinary Girl, arrived in 2007. She recorded a second album, Permission to Fly, for Hollywood Records in 2008 and competed on The Voice during the show's third season in 2012. Pruitt, who is now 28 and lives in Nashville, announced in December of 2017 that she was retiring from music, revealing in a Facebook post about one year later that she had been sexually abused during her music career; at the time, however, she did not name her abuser.
"At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were 'natural' and 'okay,'" she wrote at the time, adding that after she told a friend about the abuse, her friend told her parents, who called the police. However, Pruitt recounted in her Facebook post, she lied to the police about what was happening, and no report was filed. "This person had brainwashed me against my parents and even made me believe that I needed to get emancipated from them at some point because they were too controlling," she added.
Pruitt's lawsuit, People explains, claims that Hollywood Records encouraged her to work with Thomas, allowing the two to be together unsupervised. In her suit, Pruitt says that Thomas was controlling in regards to "bookings, studio sessions, tour schedules, public relations schedules and media requests," would not allow her to communicate with boys her age, and disparaged Pruitt's "weight, looks, voice, songwriting ability, maturity and intelligence.”
“The beating-down process was soon repeatedly followed by a period of incredible showering of attention, compliments, flirting touching and assurances that Thomas ‘loved [Pruitt],'" reads Pruitt's lawsuit, which also claims that Thomas "drugged and anally penetrated" her, and took her virginity. He reportedly told Pruitt that "their love was a secret."
"Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money and charts. 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," Pruitt tells Variety. "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.
"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 feel shameful," continues Pruitt, who is writing a book about her experience. "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.”
Adds Pruitt's attorney, Keith Davidson, to People, "Jordan Pruitt, like far too many child stars, was exploited by the very people who should have been protecting her. Jordan’s innocence was robbed from her as she was systematically groomed, molested and controlled by a predator employed by Disney, a company that sells happiness to children. Disney had a duty to protect Jordan from Keith Thomas and failed at every step.
“Jordan can never get back the innocence that was stolen from her, nor can she erase the trauma of this tragedy, but she is committed to making sure no other young women fall victim to child predators employed and protected by one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world," Davidson adds. "Jordan is brave to find courage to come forward to take on such a large conglomerate. She like so many victim with their own #metoo story must be supported."
Thomas, who got his start in Nashville after being discovered by Ronnie Milsap and signed to the artist's Ronjoy Music publishing company, has worked with a number of country and Christian artists. He co-wrote Amy Grant's '90s hit "Baby, Baby," and has worked with Mandy Moore, Deana Carter and Danny Gokey, among others. His production and management company, Levosia Entertainment, was founded in 2005, "with an emphasis on developing young undiscovered talent," according to Thomas' website.
The Boot has reached out to Thomas for comment and will update this story if more information is made available.
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