Nashville Publicist Kirt Webster Hints at Return to PR After 2017 Sexual Misconduct Scandal
Kirt Webster, the Nashville publicist who was at the center of a string of reports of sexual misconduct and abuse in late 2017, has launched a new website and says that he's continuing to work in PR. In fact, he tells Nashville's Tennessean, "I have never gone anywhere."
"I am alive and still living in Nashville, Tennessee. I am blessed to have many friends in the music business, many whom have opened their hearts and businesses to me," Webster tells the Music City newspaper by email. "People that know me … know I have a big personality and who I am … Things and projects are happening already. People get hired and fired daily, doesn’t mean they don’t move their life forward."
KirtWebster.com includes images of and a list of clients that Webster has represented -- Grand Ole Opry members, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members and more -- as well as awards he has received. However, as the Tennessean notes, at least one of those honors, the 2017 PR News award for Publicist of the Year, was rescinded after the allegations against Webster were made public.
Webster's website does not include a list of current clients or projects. Via email, he tells The Boot, "I don’t feel comfortable discussing my current client list publicly."
"My business projects are short-term with my clients, with a specific start and end date. They aren’t ongoing clients as were the artists who I represented for public relations work in the past under Webster Public Relations," he adds.
Representatives for both Dolly Parton and Clint Black, who are shown in photos on the site, tell The Boot that the artists are not affiliated with Webster; Parton's rep specifically notes that the country icon hired a different publicity firm in the fall of 2017. The Boot has also reached out to other pictured artists' representatives for comment.
In the fall of 2017, former country singer and Webster client Austin Rick accused Webster of sexually molesting and abusing him, paying him to keep quiet and threatening to sabotage his career. Webster claimed that their "brief relationship" was consensual, but various Nashville news outlets spoke with a number of former Webster employees and clients who alleged similar behavior from Webster.
In the wake of the reports, employees of Webster's PR firm, Webster PR, resigned; numerous clients publicly announced that Webster would no longer represent them, and the company appeared to shutter. Webster PR's former domain now re-directs to Webster's new website.
"I have built my new company with completely different services and goals from Webster Public Relations," Webster explains of why he is not continuing to work as Webster PR. "I’m no longer providing public relations services to artists on a long-term basis. I’m doing consulting work, putting together projects for clients who need short-term, specific goals and marketing services. It’s a completely different business."
Despite the allegations against him, Webster was never charged with any crimes. Nashville police were not able to pursue criminal charges against him due to a statute of limitations related to Rick's claims.