The “Everybody” singers performed at Madison Square Garden as part of a star-studded holiday lineup. Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Charlie Puth, Demi Lovato and more took the stage as well. While fans at MSG were were reportedly welcoming, the CW’s live stream did not feature the band amid the news that Carter, 42, is being sued for allegedly raping an underage girl in 2001.
It’s the second time BSB lost screen time amid the allegations. Carter’s and his bandmates — Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough — had been gearing up for the Backstreet Boys’ holiday special. Variety confirmed that ABC would no longer air the December 14 program, which was already filmed. They were set to perform tracks from their Christmas album and welcomed guest stars including Meghan Trainor and Seth Rogen.
Shannon Ruth is suing Carter, 42, for sexual battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, claiming that he exposed himself to her and instructed her to perform oral sex on him “under duress.”
Ruth, 39, claims that the boy bander forcibly raped her after a February 2001 concert in Tacoma, Washington. Ruth, who is on the autism spectrum and has cerebral palsy, alleged that Carter invited her to join him on his tour bus after she waited in line for a post-concert autograph.
The then-17-year-old went on the tour bus, where the musician offered her a beverage. Ruth accepted the drink and sipped it to “not be rude,” she said in her court filing, and Carter allegedly instructed her to perform oral sex. Ruth noted that she was a virgin prior to their encounter and that she tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease afterward.
“This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue,” Michael Holtz, Carter’s attorney, told Us at the time. “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.”
The statement concluded: “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.”