ABC has canceled its Backstreet Boys’ holiday special, A Very Backstreet Holiday, set to air this month, EW has confirmed. The decision comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed Thursday that accuses band member Nick Carter of rape.
In the complaint obtained by EW, Shannon “Shay” Ruth accuses Carter of raping her after a 2001 concert in Tacoma, Wash. Ruth, who has autism and cerebral palsy, alleges that she was waiting in line for an autograph after the concert and that Carter invited her into his tour bus. There, he gave her an alcoholic drink he called “VIP juice,” she claims, and repeatedly sexually assaulted her, infecting her with human papillomavirus (HPV) in the process. He then allegedly threatened reprisals if she ever told anyone what happened, and as a result, Ruth stayed silent for years.
Ruth is filing the lawsuit under a 2021 Nevada law that abolished the statute of limitations for accusations of childhood sexual abuse (similar laws in other states have opened up new lawsuits against Bill Cosby and Warren Beatty). Hers is not the only allegation in the lawsuit. Three other plaintiffs, who remain anonymous, accuse Carter of sexually assaulting them in separate incidents between 2003 and 2006.
Carter is denying the allegations via his attorney Michael Holtz.
“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 shared with EW.
He continued, “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.”
This is not the first time Carter has been accused of sexual harassment. In 2017, Melissa Schuman, a former member of the girl group Dream, accused Carter of raping her in 2002. Carter denied the allegations at the time, saying in a statement, “Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual. We went on to record a song and perform together.” Los Angeles prosecutors did not pursue charges since the statute of limitations had expired.