Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix show ‘Cheer’ and former Biden campaign surrogate, is now under investigation by the FBI for soliciting sexually explicit images and sex from minors. No charges have been filed yet.
Harris was reported to police by Varsity Brands, a major company within the cheerleading industry. Their chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, sent letters to police in both Florida and Texas on August 1st, stating that the company had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris.
Brillhart included two screenshots in his letter to law enforcement, both of messages allegedly from Harris to a 14 year old boy. The first message is from Snapchat, and shows the top half of Harris’ face with the message “Would you ever want to ****”. The second is a series of text messages, one of which is allegedly from Harris which says “Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha.”
The letter from Brillhart is based on allegations from 14 year old twin brothers. The boys described a pattern of both online and in-person harassment that started when they were 13 and Harris was 19, continuing for more than a year.
Harris has been accused of asking one of the brothers to have sex with him at two Varsity cheerleading competitions in 2019. The brothers have also stated that Harris pressured them to send him nude photos of themselves, threatening to un-friend or block them if they didn’t comply.
One brother did. “I don’t like when people are mad at me. So I was trying to please him any way I could,” he said.
“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred [Harris] from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” Brillhart wrote.
Law enforcement has searched a residence in Naperville, Illinois in connection to the investigation. No charges have been filed against Harris as of yet.
Background on Harris
Harris is the star of the Netflix series ‘Cheer’, which is a documentary chronicling Navarro College cheerleaders’ attempt to win a national championship. The series has been nominated for six Emmy’s since it was released in January.
Harris also made a cameo in a video featuring Joe Biden, asking viewers to vote for the Democrat nominee.
In August, TIME magazine wrote about how the Biden campaign recruited Harris and other Hollywood figures:
“Biden’s digital team knows the former VP’s online following doesn’t begin to compete with Trump’s. So its strategy has revolved partly around leveraging the popularity of others. ‘Where are people already talking about this? Where are the people who are already fired up about this?’ says Biden senior adviser Caitlin Mitchell, 34, who is leading much of the digital strategy. Biden’s team has organized Instagram Live sessions with influencers including TV personality Keke Palmer and Jerry Harris from the Netflix series Cheer. (The idea of working with Harris earned the support of Biden’s college-age granddaughter Finnegan, who has the candidate’s ear on digital matters.)”
Netflix is Not New to Scandals
This is not the first Netflix-related scandal in recent weeks, as the streaming platform is facing heavy backlash from their release of the new movie ‘Cuties’, which portrays children twerking and doing other sexually explicit acts.
Republican senators have led the charge to investigate Netflix, with Senator Tom Cotton stating that the platform is “peddling child pornography.”
.@Netflix & the left defended the film 'Cuties' as a social commentary against the sexual exploitation of children.
Perhaps it would have been a stronger condemnation if the film itself hadn't sexually exploited children.
There's no excuse for the distribution of such images. pic.twitter.com/zpdTmdALD6
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) September 14, 2020