Country musician Jimmie Allen has been sued for sexual assault and abuse by a former member of his management team.
The plaintiff, known as Jane Doe to protect her identity, alleges that when she was employed by Allen’s music company, Allen raped her and repeatedly subjected her to sexual abuse and harassment over a period of 18 months (as per Variety).
Across two conversations with Variety, Doe claims she was manipulated and groomed by Allen into a sexually abusive and controlling relationship. Doe is now suing Allen, as well as her former employer, Wide Open Music and its founder, Ash Bowers.
In the civil lawsuit against Allen, Bowers and Wide Open Music, filed in May 11 in 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,” as per Variety.
In a statement to Variety, Allen denies the accusations and claims he had a consensual sexual relationship with his day-to-day manager.
“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,” the musician said in a statement.
“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 defence to her claims and take all other legal action necessary to protect my reputation.”
Doe’s lawyers have since responded to Allen’s claim that her client ever asked for money, telling Variety: “The only ask we made of Allen and his legal counsel was to meet to discuss Allen’s behaviour and resolution of our client’s claims. At no time did our client make a monetary demand.
“The response was a hard no, and coloured with threats that his team would take steps to publicly tarnish my client. My client had no choice but to be proactive in protecting herself by filing the complaint.”
Doe told Variety that she reported some of Allen’s verbal harassment to her boss on various occasions. When she reportedly told Bowers about being allegedly raped and abused, Wide Open Music Wide Open Music are said to have dropped Allen as a client. In her lawsuit, which has been seen by Variety, Doe also claims they terminated her contact after that too.
In a statement to Variety, Bowers denied the claims, saying: “[Jane Doe] was the day-to-day manager for Mr. Allen…Once Wide Open Music no longer managed Mr. Allen, that role was gone and, furthermore, [the company] has transitioned out of artist management completely.”
Doe’s lawsuit further claims that Allen “made clear her job was dependent on her staying silent about his conduct” and that he videoed several multiple sexual encounters “to blackmail her to stay silent.”
Doe’s lawyer, Elizabeth Fegan, claimed in the lawsuit that “Wide Open Music knew that Jimmie Allen regularly engaged in sexual harassment but required Plaintiff to work with him anyway… Wide Open Music knew that Allen was dangerous, and assigned Plaintiff to be his Day-to-Day Manager anyway.
“Wide Open Music did not adequately warn or prepare Plaintiff for, or protect her from, the extreme sexual harassment, abuse, grooming, and manipulation she would endure in order to keep her job.”
Bowers told Variety he and the company were unaware of “the existence of a sexual or physical relationship” between Allen and Jane Doe until she set a meeting with him to disclose her allegations of physical sexual abuse on Oct. 4, 2022, more than a year and a half after she alleges the harassment and abuse began. Bowers says as soon as Jane Doe informed him of any physical allegations, “We immediately ended our professional relationship with Mr. Allen.”
The lawsuit also claims that Jane Doe is not the first female employee to be terminated from Wide Open Music after speaking up about Allen’s alleged behaviour.
The lawsuit claims Allen’s previous day-to-day manager was let go of after they “defended another woman who was the target of Allen’s sexual advances.”