UPDATE 9/17 1:45 p.m. ET: The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago announced on Thursday, September 17, that Jerry Harris was arrested on production of child pornography charges, Us Weekly confirms. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago on Thursday afternoon.
Original story below:
On Monday, September 14, USA Today reported that the 21-year-old Netflix personality is under investigation by the FBI, which conducted a search of Harris’ home in Naperville, Illinois. The cheerleader has not been charged with a crime but authorities are looking into claims that he “solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors,” according to the publication.
“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” a spokesperson for Harris said in a statement to Us Weekly amid the scandal. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
In interviews with USA Today, 14-year-old twin brothers alleged that the Navarro College student had harassed them both online and in-person at cheer competitions when they were 13 years old. At the time of the allegations, Harris would have been 19. The twins stated that the reality star’s behavior carried on for over a year.
Varsity Brands, a prominent company within the cheerleading industry, also reported Harris to police after he allegedly asked one of the brothers to have sex with him at two of Varsity’s competitions in 2019. The brand’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, penned letters to authorities in Florida and Texas, noting that the company has “barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future.”
Harris was a breakout star of Netflix’s Cheer docuseries, which debuted on the streaming service in January. Since then, the college athlete has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and served as the daytime series’ red carpet correspondent at the 2020 Oscars. While he’s known for his positive mentality and energetic personality, Harris’ accusers shared screenshots of aggressive texts and Snapchat messages in which they felt “pressured” and “threatened” to engage in explicit behavior.
According to USA Today, nine law enforcement agents combed through Harris’ home for three hours on Monday afternoon. As their alleged harasser remains in the spotlight, the twins explained why they felt it was the right time to share their stories.
“I would not be putting myself out there and doing all this stuff and literally losing my friends about this for no reason,” one of the brothers told the publication. “It is not normal. Jerry is just an example of how you can see someone as one way, but they’re truly a different person.”