Former Disney star Jordan Pruitt says she was sexually abused and brainwashed by a man in the entertainment industry who began grooming her when she was only 14 years old.
Pruitt, now 27, shared her #MeToo story on Monday in a Facebook post titled “Secrets Make You Sick.” As a young singer and songwriter whose music was frequently attached to Disney Channel original films, her career seemed to be taking off when she was a young teen, but in reality, she was battling an “insurmountable, undeniable, irrefutable amount of pain,” she said.
An older, powerful man in the entertainment industry had taken an unhealthy interest in her. When she filmed music videos, the man, whose identity she did not share, had “full control” over her appearance. It was on the set of her first music videos where he initially began “grooming” her, she wrote.
“As I filmed my music video, ‘Jump to the Rhythm,’ those eyes were watching my every move," she said. “As I watch this video back now, I see this young girl laughing and smiling, but inside I was feeling trapped. All I remember is the feeling of being totally isolated from the world. This man had taken what was supposed to be one of the best experiences of my life, and gave me the worst memory of it. To this day, I won't watch that video.’
Pruitt’s abuser grew “obsessed” with her appearance and began pushing her to lose weight, even withholding food from her, she said. He also began making inappropriate comments about her appearance, and the situation worsened from there.
“I didn't think anything was wrong until I felt this pit in my stomach. I KNEW something was wrong,” she said. “Deep in the inner parts of my soul, I was trapped. At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were ‘natural’ and ‘okay.’ For the record, while all of this was happening to me, he was engaged to be married. While I will spare you any of the mind-piercing details, I can honestly and unfortunately say that this man sexually abused me for almost two years of my life. I am a victim of child molestation because of him. And I STILL don't know how any of this even happened.”
When a friend sensed that something inappropriate was happening, Pruitt said the man claimed to have plans to leave his fiancé for her, prompting Pruitt’s friend to alert her parents, who then called the police. However, Pruitt was too afraid to tell the police the truth about what was happening, only admitting that the man had a “sick obsession” with her, and no charges were filed.
“This person had brainwashed me against my parents and even made me believe that I needed to get emancipated from them at some point because they were too controlling,” she wrote. “He made me believe that they were just in it for my ‘Disney Money.’ (This one makes me laugh now) He made it almost impossible for me to cut ties with him. He made it so difficult that I almost lost my record deal entirely.”
She began to struggle with suicidal thoughts, but was eventually able to “rebuild” herself “with the help of a manager, and the beauty which is God’s Love,” she said. She decided to share her story to help those who may have experienced similar trauma.
“I want everyone to know that through ANY horrible experience YOU are not over, and YOUR LIFE is not over,” she wrote. “Even though I still deal with PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks (sometimes daily), my LIFE is not his anymore. He can no longer take my everyday happiness away. At this moment in time, I couldn't be happier that I am able to share this with you. Share this with my fans that unfortunately might have similiar experiences. Esp people who have been in the Entertainment business. We are more alike than you thought.”
Pruitt, now married to a fellow musician, announced her retirement from music last year. According to her Facebook post, however, she continues to work as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as at a law firm, where she pursues an interest in entertainment law. Following her Disney days, when she toured with big-name teen acts like the Cheetah Girls and the “High School Musical” cast, she returned to the spotlight with a run on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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