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Backstreet Boys Holiday Special Canceled After Nick Carter Rape Allegation

Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

ABC has canceled its heavily publicized Backstreet Boys holiday special after a woman accused singer Nick Carter of raping her some two decades ago — when she was 17 years old. A Very Backstreet Holiday was scheduled to run on December 14 but is not listed on ABC’s holiday lineup web page. Variety confirmed the cancellation. The accuser, Shannon “Shay” Ruth, filed a lawsuit against Carter in Clark County, Nevada, court before ABC pulled the show. She and her attorney provided details on the alleged 2001 incident during a press conference in Los Angeles, where she claimed that Carter, 42, forced her into oral and vaginal sex. Ruth’s and her attorney’s statements at the press conference mirror her allegations in the civil lawsuit. Ruth’s allegations against Carter come about one month after the death of his younger brother, Aaron Carter. The 34-year-old singer’s death renewed attention on a bitter family feud that had touched on multiple women’s allegations against Carter. In 2019, Nick Carter filed a restraining order against Aaron Carter. After doing so, Aaron Carter publicly sided with singer Melissa Schuman, who in 2017 accused Nick of rape. Here is what we know about the latest allegations against Nick Carter.

What is Nick Carter accused of?

During a press conference on December 8, Shannon “Shay” Ruth, 39, accused Carter of sexually assaulting her on his tour bus in 2001. Ruth’s attorney, Mark Boskovich, told reporters that she attended a Tacoma, Washington, Backstreet Boys concert in 2001 when she was 17. When the concert wrapped, Ruth filed into the autograph line and wound up meeting Carter. Then Carter allegedly invited her onto the tour bus, where he provided her with a “funny-tasting beverage that he called VIP juice,” Boskovich claimed. After Ruth had the juice, Carter brought her to the tour bus’s bathroom and “told her to get on her knees, and he pulled down his pants and exposed his genitals, ordering Shay to perform sexual acts on him.” Ruth was a “virgin at the time, she had never had a sexual experience in her entire life,” Boskovich said. She cried throughout the ordeal and then Carter brought her to his bed at the back of the bus. “He pushed her onto the bed and proceeded to rape her despite her pleas over and over again that he stop, and every time she said ‘no’ and tried to get away from Carter, he’d get angry, push her back down on that bed,” the attorney alleged. The lawsuit also says that Carter has a “history and pattern of engaging in this behavior” and cites three other pseudonymous accusers’ allegations of sexual misconduct, though they are not suing him in this court action.

What did Shannon Ruth say about the alleged incident?

“The last 21 years have been filled with pain, confusion, frustration, shame, and self-harm that are a direct result of Nick Carter raping me,” Ruth said at the press conference between tears. “Even though I’m autistic with cerebral palsy, I believe that nothing has affected me more or had a more lasting impact on my life than what Nick Carter did and said to me.” After the alleged rape, Ruth said, “I remember him calling me a ‘retarded bitch’ and grabbing me and leaving bruises on my arm.” Then, Ruth alleged, Carter intimidated her, saying “no one would believe me if I told what happened. He was nasty and threatening, saying I would go to jail if I told. He also said he turned people against me because he was Nick Carter and he had the power to wreck my life.” She continued: “After my assault, I started cutting myself … I felt like I had nowhere to turn, no way to express my emotions, pain, and confusion except by hurting myself — and I truly believe that if I told anyone, I would go to jail, and I’m still struggling with that.”

Has Nick Carter responded to the allegation?

Carter’s attorney, Michael Holtz, denied the allegations. “This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue,” Holtz reportedly said. “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.”

Wasn’t there an allegation against Nick Carter several years ago?

Yes. In 2017, singer Melissa Schuman wrote a blog post in which she accused Nick Carter of raping her in 2002. Schuman, who was in the girl group Dream, alleged that Carter sexually assaulted her. (The blog post no longer appears to be available online.) Schuman told the Daily Beast that she met Carter when they were both making The Hollow, a teen horror movie, some two decades ago. She alleged that Carter sexually assaulted her when they were hanging out with friends at his home. “He threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. Again, I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex,” she told the Daily Beast. “He was relentless, refusing to take my no’s for an answer. He was heavy, too heavy to get out from under him. Then I felt it, he put something inside of me.” Carter denied her allegation. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office decided not to pursue a criminal case against Carter because the statute of limitations had passed, according to CNN.

Have the other Backstreet Boys said anything regarding the allegation or their shelved Christmas special?

The other members of the Backstreet Boys — Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson — have not released statements regarding the allegations against Carter or their show being canceled. The group is currently traveling for their DNA World Tour and have appearances for the Jingle Ball throughout the end of the month.

This story has been updated.

What Is Nick Carter Accused of Now?