Content warning: This story discusses sexual assault.
Nick Carter has returned to the stage a day after being accused of raping a teen more than 20 years ago.
The 42-year-old performed with his pop group Backstreet Boys at Z100's 2022 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball in New York City Dec. 9, one day after Shannon "Shay" Ruth, a 39-year-old woman with autism and cerebral palsy, filed a sexual battery lawsuit against the singer in Nevada. No criminal charges have been filed.
Nick, who denies the allegations, was all smiles as he took the stage at the Jingle Ball concert, performing with his bandmates hits from the group such as "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," "I Want It That Way" and "As Long as You Love Me." Backstreet Boys also sang a cover of Wham!'s 1984 song "Last Christmas," which is featured on their new holiday album A Very Backstreet Christmas.
In her lawsuit, Ruth accuses Carter of raping her in 2001, when she was 17 years old, on Backstreet Boys' tour bus following a concert in Tacoma, Washington. She also states that she was a virgin before her encounter with the singer and that she contracted HPV after the incident.
The singer's attorney issued a statement the same day the suit was filed. "This claim about an incident that supposedly took place more than 20 years ago is not only legally meritless but also entirely untrue," said the lawyer, Michael Holtz. "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."
Backstreet Boys are set to perform at another iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Kiss 100's in Boston, Dec. 11. While Carter's participation in the concert series has not been affected by the recent allegations against him, ABC has canceled a planned broadcast of their television special A Very Backstreet Holiday in wake of the news.
This is not the first time Carter has faced sexual assault allegations. In 2017, pop singer Melissa Schuman accused him of raping her 15 years prior, when she was 18. Carter denied her allegations. No criminal charges were filed. In 2018, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office stated in court documents, "The statute of limitations expired in 2013. Therefore, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence is not warranted and the matter is declined."