‘The Voice’: This Former Contestant is Suing Her Ex-Manager and Disney for Sexual Abuse
Normally, when it comes to The Voice, we hear about stories of redemption and perseverance from contestants. Unfortunately, 28-year-old Jordan Pruitt’s story is nothing like that. The former Voice competitor has accused her old manager of sexually abusing her for years, starting from when she was just 14. She also claimed that her record label, Hollywood Records, which is owned by Disney, didn’t do anything to protect her from the assault.
What happened to Pruitt?
According to her lawsuit, obtained by Variety, the abuse by Nashville producer Keith Thomas went on until a week before Pruitt’s 16th birthday. The lawsuit claims that the record label pushed Pruitt to work with Thomas and allowed the two to be alone together even though it should have known about his abusive tendencies.
“Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money, and charts,” Pruitt said 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.”
Pruitt alleges that the abuse included oral sex and kissing and that Thomas took her virginity. The incidents reportedly occurred at the Staples Center, in hotel rooms, in parked cars, on soundstages at the Warner Bros. lot, and in artist trailers.
Pruitt says that Thomas controlled her career and cut her off from boys who were closer to her age. He would give the young singer gifts and compliment her and tell her that their relationship was “special.”
Pruitt says that she was so naive that she just realized that the relationship was abusive in December.
Why is Pruitt speaking out?
Pruitt claims that Thomas groomed both her and her mom to think that it was okay for her to be alone with him. She is coming forward about this abuse so that other people will recognize it if it is happening to them and won’t be afraid to speak up.
“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 said. “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). To many victims, coming forward feels 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.”
She hopes that by bringing this issue against Disney and Hollywood Records to light, the companies will “spend their time and money on putting safeguards in place in order to protect the minors they are employing.”
Who’s being sued?
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently granted Pruitt and her attorney, Keith Davidson, the right to identify the parties in the lawsuit.
“Jordan Pruitt, like far too many child stars, was exploited by the very people who should have been protecting her,” Davidson said in a statement. “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. Jordan can never get back the innocence that was stolen from her, nor can she erase the trauma of this tragedy, but she is committed to making sure no other young women fall victim to child predators employed and protected by one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. Jordan is brave to find the courage to come forward to take on such a large conglomerate. She like so many victims with their own #metoo story must be supported. I am honored to represent Jordan.”