Who Is Kirt Webster?
Just who is Kirt Webster?
The Nashville public relations executive, like several high-profile Hollywood executives of late, is currently under fire for an alleged history of misconduct with clients and subordinates. However, unlike such powerhouses as Harvey Weinstein, Webster may not be an immediately recognizable name to the general public.
Webster has wielded tremendous power in Music City over the past two decades as the owner of Webster Public Relations, a firm he started in 1996. His company grew to house the biggest client roster in country music, overseeing the careers of some of country music’s biggest names — including iconic legacy names such as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams, Jr., Tanya Tucker, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Bill Anderson; as well as newer artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Justin Moore, Big & Rich, Aaron Lewis, and Olivia Lane.
Webster’s reach also included non-country artists, including Kid Rock, Cyndi Lauper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kenny G, and KC & the Sunshine Band.
Webster’s firm holds a variety of accolades, including the Nashville Association of Talent Directors “Board of Directors” Award granted in 2015, and he accompanied several of his clients (including Lee Greenwood) to Donald Trump's pre-inauguration concert.
Webster’s controversy began when former country singer Austin Rick alleged last month that the executive sexually assaulted him multiple times over the period of 2007-2008, when he was a client of Webster’s and pursuing a music career under the name Austin Cody. Numerous employees of the firm have added a string of distressing stories, which range from allegations of verbal abuse and intimidation, to propositions and accusations of being drugged.
Webster has denied the allegations in a statement, but most of his roster disassociated themselves from the firm upon hearing of the accusations. Two of his biggest clients, Parton and Rock, expressed that they hoped the allegations were not true due to their respective positive working relationships with the executive.
Webster announced Wednesday (Nov. 1) that he was stepping down from Webster PR and that the firm would become Westby PR under the direction of former Senior Vice President Jeremy Westby. The following day, Westby told Variety that he is starting over with a whole new firm.
See All Artists That Have Left Webster PR So Far