UPDATED: Country star Jimmie Allen’s label, BBR Music Group, suspended him Thursday, following a lawsuit from an ex-manager alleging that he sexually assaulted her over a period of a year and a half working with him, and an investigative story in Variety expanding on the woman’s allegations.
“In light of today’s allegations against Jimmie Allen, BBR Music Group has decided to suspend all activity with him, effective immediately,” said a statement from the label.
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Later Thursday, Allen disappeared from the website for June’s CMA Fest in Nashville, and the Country Music Association confirmed to Variety that the org had removed Allen from the main stage lineup set for Nissan Stadium.
Allen has also been dropped as the commencement speaker for tomorrow’s Delaware State University’s 2023 graduation. A press release from the university said that Allen, a Delaware native, had been replaced as commencement speaker by congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.
The country music industry was largely caught off-guard by the scandal, as many stars and top execs are in the Dallas, Texas area for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which begin at 7 pm. ET/4 ET. Allen was not booked as a performer for the show and was not up for any awards, although he won the best new male artist award in 2021 and served as co-host with Dolly Parton last year.
“Suspension” from a label can be a nebulous thing, as it turned out to be when Morgan Wallen was characterized as having been suspended from his label at the height of his racial epithet scandal, without there ever having been a public statement that he was back in good standing with the company, as radio raced to start playing him again after three months.
In Allen’s case, though, it’s clear that BBR is immediately dropping promotion of his new single, “Be Alright.” And there may be no hurry to restart that promotion, if Allen does remain on the label, since the song was off to a slow start at radio, mostly getting a handful of plays at stations in the overnight hours in its first few weeks of radio promotion.
With many from Allen’s label in Texas for the awards show, Variety was not able to immediately reach anyone from BBR for comment beyond the statement.
Thus far, Allen’s managers at the California-based management firm the Familie have not responded to requests for comment. Allen found representation with the firm a few months ago after having been dropped as a client by his former manager-producer, Ash Bowers.
There has also been no comment from Allen’s agency, UTA.
Bowers is named in the lawsuit by “Jane Doe,” who claims she was dismissed by his Wide Open Music company after bringing the extent of Allen’s assaults against her to their attention. Bowers said in a statement given for Variety‘s earlier story that her being let go was not retaliatory, and that the firm no longer had a need for her role after it dropped Allen as a client and got out of the management business. “[Jane Doe] was the day-to-day manager for Mr. Allen,” Bowers says. “Once Wide Open Music no longer managed Mr. Allen, that role was gone and, furthermore, [the company] has transitioned out of artist management completely.”
In the lawsuit, Jane Doe alleges that while she was employed by the management company as Allen’s day-to-day manager, Allen raped her and repeatedly subjected her to sexual abuse and harassment over a period of 18 months.
In a statement to Variety, Allen claimed that he had a consensual sexual relationship with Jane Doe.
“It is deeply troubling and hurtful that someone I counted as one of my closest friends, colleagues and confidants would make allegations that have no truth to them whatsoever,” Allen said. “I acknowledge that we had a sexual relationship — one that lasted for nearly two years. During that time, she never once accused me of any wrongdoing, and she spoke of our relationship and friendship as being something she wanted to continue indefinitely. Only after things ended between us, did she hire a lawyer to reach out and ask for money, which leads me to question her motives. The simple fact is, her accusations are not only false, but also extremely damaging. I’ve worked incredibly hard to build my career, and I intend to mount a vigorous defense to her claims and take all other legal action necessary to protect my reputation.”
In the civil lawsuit against Allen, Bowers and Wide Open Music, filed on Thursday with the United States District Court of Tennessee, Allen is being sued for sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, sex trafficking and emotional distress; Bowers and Wide Open Music are being sued for gross negligence and participating in a venture engaged in sex trafficking, among other counts. Jane Doe is represented by attorney Elizabeth Fegan, founding partner of the Chicago-based firm FeganScott, who has previously represented women who have accused Harvey Weinstein and female students abused in the USC gynecology scandal. Jane Doe is requesting a jury trial and is seeking undisclosed monetary damages.
Read Variety‘s original story about the lawsuit and what led up to it here.
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