Ever since the Harvey Weinstein revelations broke the culture of silence and enabling that existed in Hollywood, scores of women (and men) have come forward with their tales of sexual assault at the hands of storied names in the entertainment industry. The #MeToo campaign that it sparked on social media quickly snowballed into a worldwide movement, with people from all walks of life sharing their experiences. Meanwhile the list of celebrities accused of assault and rape continues to grow.
Nick Carter, member of the Backstreet Boys, is the latest to be added to that list with former pop star Melissa Schuman accusing him of having raped her in 2002. The Backstreet Boys, while still around, had their heyday in the '90s as possibly the most famous boy band in the world, with millions of tween and teen fans around the world, who idolized them; Carter was the band's most beloved singer. However, in a shocking and extremely detailed blog post Schuman, who was a member of the pop group Dream, attempts to break this nice guy-image of Carter.
According to Schuman, she was raped by Carter in his apartment, when she was 18 and he was 22. In her post, Schuman writes that she was a virgin at the time and when she pleaded with Carter, saying that she was saving herself for marriage and her future husband, Carter responded saying that he could be her husband.
Schuman says that she was first contacted by Carter's representatives who hoped the two young singer could date. While nothing came of the idea, Schuman met Carter professionally later and was invited back to his apartment. Once there, Carter allegedly forced himself on Schuman, performing oral sex on her despite her repeated pleas to stop, and then demanded she do the same for him.
Schuman writes: “He was stronger and much bigger than me, and there was no way I would be able to open that door or have anyone help me... My friend couldn’t help me, I didn’t even know where she was. So when he placed my hand on his penis my thought was the only way to get out was to get him to finish what he had started.
That’s where I saw myself, my reflection, watching myself do something that I was sickened by. Watching myself be assaulted, forced to engage in an act against my will. Same as before his appetite was still not satisfied and now took me to the bedroom. It was late. The apartment was now dark and all you could hear was the remaining music in the living room. He threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. Again, I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him that I was saving myself for my future husband. I said it over and over again.
He whispered in my ear as if to entice me, ‘I could be your husband.’”
Schuman says that she didn't register a complaint at the time as her then-manager, to whom she narrated the entire incident and who initially wanted her to report the crime, found out that Carter's lawyer was the most powerful defense counsel in the country. Schuman says she had neither the money nor the clout to fight such a battle, and that she wanted to continue to establish herself as a pop singer. While she shared the ordeal with family, friends and even her therapist, Schuman didn't go public for 15 years. Even when the #MeToo campaign was in full swing, she chose not to share her story, because, as a poignant line in her blog reads, "Who the hell wants to be famous for being raped?"
What finally prompted her come forward was her stumbling across this:
Schuman had long maintained to those close to her that she would come forward with her story if somebody else came forward with allegations. She writes: "When the news broke about the gross accusations of Harvey Weinstein, many of my friends and family asked me if I wanted to come forward with my story.
I said no.
So many years later, the idea of reliving and re-writing the events that were traumatic, something that I have worked so diligently to heal from is painful. I did however promise that if another victim ever came forward I would then feel the responsibility to show my support by sharing my story.
And then I saw the write up from RadarOnline on 10.30.17 and the response it was getting in the comments."
Since her blog post went viral, the story has been picked up by news centers across the world. Carter has since responded, reportedly saying, "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.”
Stay tuned for further developments.