This story has been updated.
As most of the country music industry was preparing for Thursday evening’s (5-11) ACM Awards in Dallas, journalist Elizabeth Wagmeister at Variety published a bombshell report that pop country artist and Broken Bow Records signee Jimmie Allen has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and other charges by his former day-to-day manager of 18 months. The manager has chosen to remain anonymous at this time, and is being referred to as “Jane Doe.”
In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Tennessee and verified by Saving Country Music, Attorney Elizabeth Fagan of the Chicago Law Firm FeganScott is suing Jimmie Allen for sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, sex trafficking and emotional distress. Allen’s former management firm Wide Open Music is also being sued for gross negligence, participating in a venture engaged in sex trafficking, and other counts.
The lawsuit chronicles scores of incidents where Jimmie Allen allegedly raped and sexually assaulted Jane Doe, including during trips to prominent appearances on Ellen, American Idol, and other events, including one incident after an American Idol taping where Jane Doe says she woke up naked in a hotel room in severe pain, bleeding vaginally, and not being able to recall anything from the previous evening. Jimmie Allen was beside her in bed, and insisting she take a morning after pill. Jane Doe says this is how she lost her virginity.
Another alleged incident happened when Jane Doe when to Jimmie Allen’s house to drop off a COVID test. “I’m walking into his driveway to drop off a test, and he shuts the garage door,” she says. “He takes my arms, he’s like, ‘Come on, come on, just really quick,’ and he’s grabbing my hips, turning me around. He pulls his pants down. I said ‘No.’ He kept grabbing me and turning me around.”
Variety was given access to scores of text messages, tour itineraries, and other corroborating evidence to help verify the allegations against Allen, as well as speaking to two other people close to Jane Doe who could help corroborate the abuse. Jane Doe also alleges that Jimmie Allen took photos and video of her to use as blackmail, and watched porn on her computer, while Allen did not allow her to have a phone while they were together.
Jimmie Allen was married with two kids at the time of the alleged rapes and sexual assaults. Though he denies the allegations, he does admit that the two had a consensual sexual relationship for a prolonged period. It was announced publicly in April that Allen would be separating from his wife Gail, and that the couple were expecting their third child.
Jimmie Allen’s statement reads:
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 says. “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.
The attorney for Jane Doe rebuts, “The only ask we made of Allen and his legal counsel was to meet to discuss Allen’s behavior and resolution of our client’s claims. At no time did our client make a monetary demand. The response was a hard no, and colored 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.”
Wide Open Music is accused of knowing about the abuse, but doing nothing about it as the alleged behavior continued.
“Wide Open Music knew that Jimmie Allen regularly engaged in sexual harassment but required Plaintiff to work with him anyway,” the suit says. “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.”
Wide Open Music claims they were unaware of the allegations until a meeting on October 4th, 2022, when Jane Doe disclosed the abuse. Shortly after the meeting, Wide Open Music ended their management partnership with Jimmie Allen. Jane Doe’s employment also ended at that time, since her job was to work with Jimmie Allen.
Also according to the lawsuit, the previous day-to-day manager for Jimmie Allen had also been fired after she defended another woman who was allegedly the target of Jimmie Allen’s sexual advances.
Jimmie Allen has been a high-profile artists in country music since 2018, including hosting the 2022 ACM Awards with Dolly Parton, performing on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, collaborating with artists such as Noah Cyrus and Brad Paisley, becoming the first Black artists to win the ACM’s New Male Artist of the Year award in 2021, and winning the prestigious New Artist of the Year at the 2021 CMA Awards as well.
Jimmie Allen’s debut single “Best Shot” hit #1, becoming only the 2nd debut single from a Black artist to hit #1. Since then, he’s hit #1 with “Make Me Want To” (2019), “Freedom Was a Highway” with Brad Paisley (2021), and hit #2 with “Down Home” (2022).
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Though everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the accusations against Jimmie Allen must be taken seriously by the country music industry, especially since they involve another professional within the industry as the alleged victim. Though it might be assumed the country music industry would approach these allegations with weight and seriousness they deserve, country music has a dubious past of looking the other way when it comes to such accusations against certain artists.
When Nelly was accused of raping a woman while on tour with Florida Georgia Line in October of 2018, he was able to resume touring with the duo immediately. Even after two more women came forward with allegations of sexual assault, Nelly is still regularly booked for appearances on country tours and events. High-profile DJ Diplo has also been accused of rape, grooming of underage girls, and other accusations, and continues to make high-profile appearances at country music festivals, and just released a collaborative album with country artists. Publicist and manager Kirt Webster also continues to work in the country industry, even after credible accusations of rape against him by an artist and other sexually inappropriate behavior.
Jimmie Allen has a right to face the charges and to present his side of the story and clear his name. But he also can’t be shielded from these accusations because of who he is. The Metro Nashville Police should also get involved to find if any criminal charges are warranted before the statute of limitations is allowed to expire.
UPDATE: Thursday afternoon (5-11), it was announced that CMAFest had removed Jimmie Allen from the lineup, and that his label BBR had “suspended” Allen after the allegations.