ABC has canceled the Backstreet Boys Christmas special amid the sexual assault lawsuit against Nick Carter. The band was scheduled to perform songs from their recently released Christmas album on the special, which was going to air Dec. 14
On Thursday, Carter, 42, was sued by a woman named Shannon Ruth, who alleged that she was 17 years old when Carter, then 21, sexually assaulted her on his tour bus after a concert in 2001, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE. A source close to Carter has denied the allegations.
The singer’s attorney, Michael Holtz later said in a statement to PEOPLE “This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue.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.”
Shannon Ruth, who is both autistic and has cerebral palsy, said the innocent took place after a Backstreet Boys shows in Tacoma, Washington when Nick Carter invited her to his bus. The singer asked Ruth if she wanted a drink, and when she requested apple juice, he gave her a red-colored drink he called “VIP juice,” the complaint claims. Though Carter allegedly said the beverage was cranberry juice, Ruth believes it also contained alcohol. Ruth claims that Carter brought her to the bathroom, then demanded she perform oral sex on him. Afterward, the singer allegedly continued to sexually assault her on a bed. Ruth claimed that she was a virgin before the encounter, and that she contracted HPV.
This was not the first time the singer has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2017, Carter was accused of rape by former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.