Jimmie Allen has been removed from the performer lineup for this year’s CMA Fest after sexual assault allegations in a new lawsuit, according to a statement from the Country Music Association obtained by Billboard.
CMA Fest is slated for June 8-11 in downtown Nashville. Allen had been slated to perform during the festival’s closing evening, on Sunday, June 11, on the main stage at Nissan Stadium. Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Ashley McBryde are also on the June 11 lineup. Last year, CMA Fest welcomed an estimated 80,000 country music fans daily to downtown Nashville, and this year, will celebrate 50 years of connecting artist and fans.
The removal comes hours after a civil lawsuit was filed Thursday (May 11) against Allen, as an anonymous “Jane Doe” who previously served as a day-to-day manager for Allen claims to have been repeatedly sexually harassed and raped by Allen, and that Allen’s management company fired her when she complained.
The lawsuit, first reported by Variety and independently obtained by Billboard, was filed Thursday in Tennessee federal court. The anonymous “Jane Doe” accuser claims that Allen “manipulated and used his power” over her job as a day-to-day manager in order to “sexually harass and abuse her” over a period of 18 months from 2020 to 2022.
“Plaintiff expressed in words and actions that Jimmie Allen’s conduct was unwelcome, including pushing him away, sitting where he could not reach her, telling him she was uncomfortable and no, and crying uncontrollably,” the woman’s attorneys write in the complaint. “However, Allen made clear that plaintiff’s job was dependent on her staying silent about his conduct.”
In a statement to Billboard, Allen admitted to a sexual relationship with his accuser but denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Allen also said he is determined to defend himself against the lawsuit.
“It is deeply troubling and hurtful that someone I counted as one of my closest friends, colleagues and confidants would make allegations that have no truth to them whatsoever,” Allen says. “I acknowledge that we had a sexual relationship — one that lasted for nearly two years. During that time she never once accused me of any wrongdoing, and she spoke of our relationship and friendship as being something she wanted to continue indefinitely.
“Only after things ended between us, did she hire a lawyer to reach out and ask for money, which leads me to question her motives. The simple fact is, her accusations are not only false, but also extremely damaging. I’ve worked incredibly hard to build my career, and I intend to mount a vigorous defense to her claims and take all other legal action necessary to protect my reputation.”
Allen has also been suspended by his record label BBR Music Group (Allen records for the label’s Stoney Creek imprint), including the ceasing of of radio promotion for his current single “Be Alright.”
“In light of today’s allegations against Jimmie Allen, BBR Music Group has decided to suspend all activity with him, effective immediately,” a label representative said via a statement to Billboard.
Delaware native Allen had also previously been slated to deliver a commencement keynote address at his alma mater Delaware State University. In a release obtained by Billboard, it was noted that Allen is no longer delivering the commencement address and has been replaced by Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. According to the release, Allen informed the university he would no longer be available to participate in the ceremony.