Former ‘The Voice’ Singer Jordan Pruitt Files Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Nashville Executive
Jordan Pruitt, who had an active career as a teen pop singer before a stint on TV's The Voice, has filed suit against the Nashville manager who she says sexually abused her when she was a teenager under his tutelage.
Pruitt, now 28, has filed suit against Nashville producer, songwriter and manager Keith Thomas, who has extensive credits in country and Christian music. According to People, Pruitt's filing alleges that beginning when she was an aspiring 14-year-old singing star, Thomas — who served as her mentor, producer and manager — subjected her to sexual abuse that lasted nearly two years.
Pruitt signed with Disney's Hollywood Records in 2005 and worked with Thomas on an EP. Her filing says Thomas controlled virtually every aspect of her career, including “the bookings, studio sessions, tour schedules, public relations schedules and media requests," and as time went on, he began to groom her for abuse by making hurtful comments about Pruitt's “weight, looks, voice, songwriting ability, maturity and intelligence.” She says that "beating-down process" was followed by "incredible showering of attention, compliments, flirting touching and assurances that Thomas ‘loved'" her.
According to Pruitt's lawsuit, the alleged abuse began when she was 14 and kept on until just before she turned 16. Variety reports that it started as kissing and oral sex and progressed to Thomas taking her virginity. Pruitt says the alleged abuse took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, on sound stages at the Warner Bros. lot, in artists’ trailers, in hotel rooms and parked cars, and Thomas — who, she says, had worked hard to gain her mother's trust — told her "their love was a secret."
On one occasion, Pruitt claims, Thomas “drugged and anally penetrated” her.
Pruitt released her debut single, "Outside Looking In," in 2006, and though she was never a mainstream star, she would go on to release two albums and a string of singles and tour with acts including Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers, the Cheetah Girls, the Plain White Tees and more. Her early succees cooled over the next several years.
In 2012, at the age of 21, Pruitt auditioned for the third season of The Voice, where she competed on Christina Aguilera's team. After her run on the show was over, she announced via Twitter that she was going to pursue a country music career. In 2017, she anounced that she was retiring from music and from show business. In 2018, in a lengthy Facebook post, Pruitt revealed that she had suffered molestation as a teenager, though she did not give details at the time.
Pruitt filed her lawsuit under a pseudonym in early August, then re-filed under her own name on Friday (Aug. 30). She turned to social media to share her story on Tuesday (Sept. 3), writing, "3 weeks ago as 'Jane Doe' I filed a lawsuit against my molester and those who enabled him. No more Jane Doe. I am Jordan Pruitt."
Thomas began his Nashville career as a songwriter signed to Ronnie Milsap's publishing company. His long list of credits includes Amy Grant, Selena, Vanessa Williams, Deana Carter and many more hits across pop, country and Christian music. He has worked on multiple No. 1 hits and is a Grammy winner. He founded a company called Levosia Entertainment in 2005; according to his website, Levosia has "an emphasis on developing young undiscovered talent."
Pruitt's lawsuit names Thomas and Levosia, as well as Hollywood Records and its parent company, the Walt Disney Co., who she accuses of encouraging her to work with Thomas "unsupervised" even though they should have known he was an alleged abuser.
“Jordan Pruitt, like far too many child stars, was exploited by the very people who should have been protecting her," her attorney, Keith Davidson, tells People. “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.”
“Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money and charts," Pruitt says in a statement to Variety. "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.”
“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,” Pruitt adds. “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. 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.”
Neither Disney nor Hollywood Records have commented on Pruitt's suit. Thomas referred Variety to his attorney, who did not respond to a request for comment. Taste of Country reached out to a representative for Thomas' Levosia Entertainment and had not heard back at publication time.
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