ABC Cancels DWTS Cast Members’ Christmas Special After Rape Allegations


ABC has canceled a Christmas special featuring two “Dancing With the Stars” alumni — Nick Carter, who finished in 2nd place on season 21, and AJ McLean, who finished in 7th place on season 29 — after rape allegations were made against Carter.

“A Very Backstreet Holiday” has been pulled from the network after a woman named Shannon Ruth brought a lawsuit against Nick Carter alleging that he raped her when she was underage during the 2001 Backstreet Boys tour.

Here’s what you need to know:

‘A Very Backstreet Holiday’ Was Supposed to Air December 14 & Was Tied to the Backstreet Boys’ New Christmas Album

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC will no longer broadcast “A Very Backstreet Holiday,” a Christmas special that was set to air on December 14 and was tied to the boy band’s first holiday album, which was released in October.

The special was billed as “a joyful night to reminisce, harmonize and celebrate the holiday season together,” according to the ABC press release.

The full description reads:

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!

According to Variety, in addition to Backstreet Boys members Carter, McLean, Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough, Seth Rogen, Meghan Trainor, Rob Riggle, Nikki Glaser, Ron Funches and Atsuko Okatsuka were also scheduled to appear in the special.

Ruth’s Lawsuit Says 3 Other Anonymous Jane Doe Accusers Have Also Come Forward

On Thursday, December 8, Ruth filed her lawsuit against Nick Carter that says he assaulted her in 2001 when she was 17 years old and attending a fan event that was held during the Backstreet Boys tour.

As first reported by TMZ and Rolling Stone, the lawsuit alleges that Carter gave Ruth a beverage with alcohol in it and forced her to perform oral sex on him, then later raped her in a bedroom on the tour bus.

During the press conference with her lawyer Mark Baskovich and Marcy Hamilton, a representative from the civil rights organization Child USA, an organization that helps victims of child sex abuse, Ruth said that her life has been “filled with pain” after the incident she is alleging.

“The last 21 years of my life filled with pain, confusion, frustration, shame, and self-harm that are a direct result of Nick Carter raping me,” said Ruth, adding, “Even though I’m autistic and live with cerebral palsy, I believe nothing has affected me more … than what Nick Carter did to me.”

“During our investigation, we spoke with other women that Carter also sexually assaulted and infected with HPV,” said Baskovich at the press conference. He went on to say that the other accusers’ stories were all very similar to Ruth’s and he encouraged others to come forward.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Ruth’s lawsuit alleges that there are three other anonymous accusers who say they were also sexually assaulted by Carter between 2003 and 2006; one of them was underage at the time of the alleged assault.

Ruth is not the first woman to accuse Carter of sexual assault. In 2018, a singer named Melissa Schuman accused Carter of a similar incident, which she detailed in a now-deleted blog post.

According to People, Schuman said in the blog post that Carter demanded Schuman perform oral sex on him and later raped her in a bedroom at his house.

Carter has denied all of the allegations. At the time of Schuman’s accusation, he issued a statement to People that read, “I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. 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, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”

In response to Ruth’s lawsuit, Carter issued a statement to Heavy calling the allegations “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. 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,” said Carter’s most recent statement.

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