Austin Rick, who used the stage name of Austin Cody, is penning a book about the sexual abuse he said he endured while signed to public relations firm Webster PR starting in 2008. Rick first came forward about the abuse last November, stating that publicist Kirt Webster drugged, manipulated and sexually assaulted him several times while Rick was signed to Webster PR.
When Rick came forward, Webster PR quickly morphed to Westby PR as the company was taken over by Webster’s colleague Jeremy Westby while Webster denied the allegations. Soon, big name acts the PR firm represented like Bily Ray Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Kid Rock, and Big & Rich left to distance themselves as more and more people came forward with claims of wrongdoings.
Former employees of Webster PR stated that groping, sexual harassment, outbursts and emotional abuse were commonplace in their work environment. They said that Webster purposefully hired young professionals who would feel trapped by his power in Nashville’s music business.
After a year with the PR firm and his career starting to take off, Rick abruptly left Nashville, joined the Army and went back to school. He suffered mentally from his time in Nashville and attempted suicide and went into therapy. Webster continued to inappropriately contact him for years, even up until 2017.
Since Rick has more to say than he can fit into a concise statement, his tell-all book, Surviving Possession: Inside Kirt Webster’s Twisted Toy Chest, will fill in the blanks and hopefully inspire strength in others who have endured abuse. Rick also hopes that the book will bring awareness to the misconduct in the country music industry.
“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 said in an emailed statement. “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 …”
Rick plans on taking legal action in the form of a civil suit since the crimes took place too long ago to press criminal charges.