ABC has pulled Backstreet Boys Christmas special “A Very Backstreet Holiday” from its schedule after Nick Carter was accused of raping a 17-year-old back in 2001. He was 21 at the time; Carter is now 42.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada (where Carter lives), alleges that Carter gave the woman, Shannon “Shay” Ruth, now 39, HPV and threatened her with jail if she revealed what happened, according to NBC News. The suit also says Carter used a slur to describe Ruth’s disability — she has autism and cerebral palsy — and said no one would believe her.
Carter denied the accusations through his lawyer Michael Holtz, who called the accusation “legally meritless” and “entirely untrue.”
“This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue,” Holtz said in a statement provided to IndieWire. “Unfortunately, for several years now, Ms. Ruth has been manipulated into making false allegations about Nick – and those allegations have changed repeatedly and materially over time. No one should be fooled by a press stunt orchestrated by an opportunistic lawyer – there is nothing to this claim whatsoever, which we have no doubt the courts will quickly realize.”
IndieWire reached out to the attorney for Ruth, Mark Boskovich, but we did not immediately receive a response.
The suit states that Carter invited Ruth to the group’s tour bus after a show in Tacoma, Washington, in February 2001. She says he provided her with alcohol and forced her to perform oral sex in the bus’ bathroom, NBC wrote. Ruth says he raped her a second time on a bed near the back of the tour bus.
“A Very Backstreet Holiday” was slated to air on Wednesday, December 14. In its place, reruns of sitcoms “The Conners” and “The Goldbergs” will air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., a person with knowledge of the schedule change told IndieWire.
Here is the “A Very Backstreet Holiday” logline:
This festive new special will feature Grammy Award-winning boy band sensation “The Backstreet Boys” singing songs from their brand-new holiday album along with classic hits and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. It will be a joyful night to reminisce, harmonize and celebrate the holiday season together. More details to come and expect some special surprises and performances to keep spirits bright! The holiday special is executive produced by Film 45 Live.
“A Very Backstreet Holiday” was in service to the promotion of the band’s new holiday album, “A Very Backstreet Christmas.”