Two teens are taking "Cheer" star Jerry Harris to court for grooming them into sending nude photos and demanding sexual favors ... those are the allegations in a new lawsuit filed on their behalf.
The plaintiffs are minor twin brothers who are part of the cheerleading community in Fort Worth, TX -- where they say they first encountered Harris around 2018 at high-level competitions and became acquainted. From there, things allegedly turned sexual fast.
According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, the brothers were starstruck by Harris when first getting to know him, as he was already a well-respected cheerleader on the champion Navarro college team, and had also filmed for Netflix's "Cheer" documentary.
In the lawsuit, they claim Harris almost immediately began taking them into his inner circle, befriending them on different social media platforms ... and, eventually, soliciting "booty pics" from them -- exploiting the fact they were both gay.
The docs say the boys reluctantly complied at times with Harris' requests, but go on to claim his requests became more frequent and more offline ... meaning he would allegedly solicit sexual acts from them in person, while also allegedly sending sexually explicit photos and video to them too.
In one alleged instance in 2019, one of the brothers claims Harris led him to a bathroom during a cheer competition and cornered him in a stall, where he allegedly begged the kid for oral sex. The boy says he managed to take off when his bro and teammates blew up his phone.
Mind you, at the time during these interactions ... the boys say they were just 13 and 14 years old, and that Harris was over 18. They also claim they've discovered other minors Harris has allegedly harassed, while adding he's been allowed to remain as a high-level coach and mentor at several different cheer organizations despite his alleged "past and ongoing sexual abuse of children." Some of these organizations, including United States All Star Federation and Varsity Spirit, are also defendants in the lawsuit.
According to the suit, the boys' mother reported Harris to local authorities in July of this year, and later to the FBI in August -- which resulted in a raid of his home this week. They are now seeking over $1 mil in damages.
5:19 PM PT -- A spokesperson for Harris confirmed he was 19 at the time of alleged solicitation, back in May 2019. We're also told the allegations don't involve any physical contact.
The spokesperson added, "We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is complete the true facts will be revealed."
3:36 PM PT -- Federal law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... federal authorities are investigating Jerry for alleged possession of child porn and as part of that probe they are looking into whether Jerry was allegedly soliciting minors.
Federal sources confirm they have been at Jerry's home all afternoon executing their search warrant.
Jerry Harris -- one of the cheerleading stars of Netflix's uber-popular show "Cheer" -- is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly soliciting minors for sex.
FBI agents executed a search warrant at a home in Illinois Monday, following up on the allegations against Harris ... according to USA Today. At this point, Harris -- a fan favorite while cheering for Navarro College on "Cheer" -- has not been charged.
Authorities were reportedly made aware of the allegations when Varsity, a private company in the cheerleading industry, alerted cops in Florida and Texas. The company learned about the claims of "inappropriate sexual conduct" last month.
According to the report, Varsity shared 2 screenshots with police, including an alleged Snapchat message of Jerry's face with the message, "Would you ever want to ****."
As you know ... Jerry rose to fame during the Netflix docu-series following his cheer team, and he became known as the "King of Mat Talk."
Originally published -- 2:16 PM PT
Rob Gronkowski is gonna like this ... Netflix's hit show "Outer Banks" is already filming season 2, and that means coronavirus precautions for the cast and crew.
Here's the scene on the 'Outer Banks' set this week, as filming gets rolling on James Island in South Carolina ... the main characters are all in masks, what with the pandemic and all.
You can still make out who everyone is behind their face covering ... Madelyn Cline, who plays Sarah Cameron, and Chase Stokes, who plays John B, are masked up in the car.
And, here's Madison Bailey (Kiara), Jonathan Daviss (Pope) and Rudy Pankow (JJ) walking through a field and keeping their social distance. This is how it's done!
As we reported ... Rob says he's all about that POGUE LIFE, as 'Outer Banks' season 1 became his obsession during the NFL offseason, binge-watching the show in 2 days with his S.I. Swim model girlfriend Camille Kostek.
The ending pissed a lot of folks off, kooks and pogues alike, but maybe people will be happier with the end of season 2.
At least they're filming!!!
Carole Baskin's got the eye of the tiger as she prepares for her big "Dancing with the Stars" debut ... and she's practicing her moves in a way that would make Billy Idol proud.
Sources close to Carole tell TMZ ... she's been dancing with herself in her Los Angeles apartment during her downtime this week as she gets ready for her first 'DWTS' number.
Carole's gearing up for her first dance, which will be to "Eye of the Tiger," but we're told she's not practicing to any specific music ... just the music in her head.
With Carole only getting 3 to 4 hours a day of official 'DWTS' rehearsal, she's taking her work home ... we're told she feels she needs more practice and moved the furniture in her living room to create her own dance floor.
Carole's documenting her progress too ... we're told she's recording her practice dances on her phone so she can look back and see how far she's come.
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Remember ... Carole studied hard and cheaply, before getting on the 'DWTS' set ... picking up her ballroom basics by watching video tutorials on YouTube.
With some rehearsals under her belt, we're told Carole is mostly focusing on dance steps and staying on tempo when she's home alone.
Carole's costume for her first number will have no feathers or fur, and our sources describe the outfit as a "sunset" with a lot of "cattitude" ... whatever that means.
We're told Carole instantly fell in love with the getup ... and she's already asked producers if she will be allowed to keep it or purchase it after the show, but producers haven't indicated a final decision.
And, get this ... our sources say Carole told her family she thought to herself, "I want to be buried in this dress," when she first saw it. Thing is, we're told she plans on being cremated and wouldn't want the dress to burn. How sweet.
The Tiger Team leader, Eric Love, flew into D.C. Wednesday night with Joe's lawyers, packing a 257-page document he calls 4 months worth of hard work ... and he tells us it fully proves Joe's innocent.
As Eric says, this is the team's second major attempt to grab the President's attention ... but this time around they have more than a huge bus to persuade him to pardon Joe, and are even more optimistic about their pitch.
We asked him if going to the White House as the President's embroiled in controversy over his recorded convos with Bob Woodward was a good idea. Eric thinks this timing could work in Joe's favor, and Trump's too.
As we first told you, Joe's 257-page case argues various reasons why he should be pardoned from his 22-year murder-for-hire sentence ... including a claim that he was sexually assaulted behind bars.
Love apparently has an in at the White House to deliver the goods, and he tells us Joe is so focused on the mission, he's even moved past hating on his rival Carole Baskin ... and wishes her well on "Dancing with the Stars."
That alone might demonstrate Joe's a changed man ... but that's for Trump to decide.
The couple tied the knot on Labor Day, according to their marriage certificate, and the singer-songwriter and the "Stranger Things" star shared a few pics of their ceremony from the Graceland Wedding Chapel. Classic!
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The lovebirds look totally smitten and full of joy inside the chapel -- with Elvis singing away -- and outside on a Vegas street as Lily showed off her vintage white wedding dress and veil.
Apparently, a day full of love and marriage in Sin City works up your appetite ... Lily and the fam chowed down on some In-N-Out after the nuptials.
We broke the story ... David and Lily obtained a marriage license Sunday in Vegas, the first indication they were about to seal the deal.
Up until recently, they've been very private about being together -- with Lily revealing their engagement via a selfie back in May -- but they're letting it all out now.
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David even pointed out that wildfires ravaging California and a pandemic affecting the whole world couldn't stop them from becoming husband and wife.
Joe Exotic says he's having a rough go in prison, but his fashion line is doing much better ... his underwear collection is selling like hotcakes, thanks in part to his nemesis, Carole Baskin.
The 'Tiger King' star had another successful fashion drop for his "REVENGE" collection with Odaingerous ... Joe's custom boxer briefs went on sale Labor Day and sold out within hours, raking in $50,000 in online sales!!!
The top seller, we're told, is the limited edition "Casket Baskin" boxer brief ... which depicts blood-red ice cream in a cone reminiscent of Baskin-Robbins.
While the first wave of underwear was cleaned out in a nanosecond, Odaingerous is updating its online store and restocking due to the extra traffic, as folks clamor for all things Exotic.
Joe's boxers are going international too -- the "REVENGE" collection just put up 3 billboards in Mexico, as 'Tiger King' continues to gain popularity beyond President Trump's favorite "wall."
Speaking of Trump, Joe's legal team is trekking back to D.C. to try to get him a Presidential pardon. Joe's laying out myriad reasons why Trump should pardon his 22-year murder-for-hire sentence ... including a claim he was sexually assaulted behind bars -- something the Federal Bureau of Prisons denies.
No word if Team JE's gonna throw in some Exotic underwear swag with its formal pardon request. Couldn't hurt!
12:27 PM PT -- 9/14 -- A rep for the Grady County Jail -- where Joe claims the sexual assault happened -- had no comment. However, a law enforcement source at the jail denies the allegations, claiming there are cameras all around the facility and saying it's Joe's character to make things up.
7:12 AM PT -- We reached out to our federal prison sources about Joe's claims, who tell us, "there was no such assault."
Joe Exotic has submitted a 257-page case to Donald Trump -- arguing various reasons why he should be pardoned from his 22-year murder-for-hire sentence -- claiming he was sexually assaulted behind bars.
Joe included a letter he sent to Donald Trump Jr. in his documents, in which he claims, "I have been sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms." He goes on to say, "please be my hero ... my hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I'm sorry for the soppy (sic) writing and spelling" and adding this ... "#TrumpJr.2024." We reached out to the prison for comment ... so far, no word back.
Joe says he fears he'll die in prison before his scheduled 2037 release, because his health is compromised because of various medical issues, including anemia and common variable immune deficiency.
Joe submitted various character references, including one from Kerri Walker, whose cousin worked at the zoo. She makes an appeal to Trump, saying Joe got a raw deal, just like Trump did with the "grab-'em-by-the-p***y" tape.
Joe goes on to say he never tried to kill Carole Baskin, and that all the so-called threats he made against her were just "hyperbole." His lawyers say in the docs, obtained by TMZ, the "threats" were "simply another aspect of his showmanship ... Joe's jokes, at most, in bad taste, were merely jokes."
Joe also insists he's been "railroaded and betrayed, repeatedly" ... blaming Jeff Lowe, the judge and others. He says the $3k he forked over to the alleged hitman was not to pay for a hit ... it was to get the guy out of his hair.
Joe also believes one of the reasons he was convicted was because of anti-gay sentiments.
He admits to shooting some tigers that were ill, saying that was the humane way of euthanizing them.
And Joe's husband, Dillon Passage, wrote a letter saying Joe saved him from addiction. Passage wrote ... "I see a sweet, big heart man, with good intentions, who took a few steps down a dark road, and he's just waiting to be pulled out of it."
Joe makes his plea to President Trump, saying, "Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please."
TMZ broke the story ... Joe's team is flying to D.C. Wednesday where Eric Love, who's leading the charge for Joe, will present the pardon application to someone he knows in The White House.
Originally Published -- 9/8 1:00 AM PT
Carole Baskin studied hard, and cheaply, before "Dancing With the Stars" ... picking up her ballroom basics by watching video tutorials online.
Sources close to Carole tell TMZ ... she immediately turned to YouTube for help after finding out she was going to be on the upcoming season of 'DWTS' -- and she started with the biggies: salsa, cha-cha and the Venezuelan waltz.
We're told she also enlisted the help of a cool cat ... or kitten -- one of her Big Cat Rescue members teaches dance, and gave Carole some tips.
Our sources say Carole also signed up for a virtual training app in June, with the music-based training helping her get used to being on tempo. Turns out that's important for dancing.
Carole's looking slim at 'DWTS' rehearsals ... our sources say she lost 20 lbs since shooting 'Tiger King' and is down to 165.
We're told Carole has been on a vegan diet and only eats 2 meals a day. She's also riding her bike 10 miles a day, 7 days a week, and doing a lot of squats, lunges and leaps ... and seeing results.
All that health and fitness might help Carole feel like an L.A. local. She's moved to LaLa Land temporarily for 'DWTS.' Her husband, Howard, and daughter, Jamie, are staying home in Tampa to tend to the big cat sanctuary.
Harry and Meghan announced their new careers Wednesday, 6 months after leaving the royal fam and settling in California, they're going to make content for Netflix.
The Duke and Duchess inked a multiyear deal with the streaming service, and the still-unnamed production company they founded will get a bunch of Netflix dough to make movies, scripted shows, documentaries, docu-series and children's programming.
Forget the royal family, Harry and Meghan have found their own global platform in Tinseltown. Netflix has tons of reach, with 193 million subscribers across the globe.
Harry and Meghan will mostly be working behind the cameras, but they might appear on screen in documentaries. Meghan's also open to voice-over work -- as we know from her Disney project last year -- but she's made it clear she doesn't plan to get back into acting. At least, that's her plan for now.
Unclear how lucrative Harry and Meghan's deal with Netflix is, they're not exactly well-established producers, but the streaming service is known to make it rain on big-name talent.
Joe Exotic is launching an underwear collection from behind bars ... and the 'Tiger King' has his mug plastered across the fly!!!
The boxer briefs are part of Joe's "REVENGE" collection with streetwear brand Odaingerous ... and this fashion drop is pretty damn bold.
As you can see, there are some fun options ... one's got Joe's face on the crotch of some leopard print, another's a bright orange tiger print and there's also a mix of tiger print and baby blue, not to mention red tiger print. Pretty much what you would expect from Joe the fashionista.
Hawking outrageous underwear is kinda Joe's thing ... back in 2013, long before his Netflix fame, he started selling 'Tiger King' undies ... but they didn't have his face on them.
If Joe's previous "REVENGE" capsules are an indication, these boxer briefs are gonna sell like hotcakes ... remember, his soft launch in May sold out in a matter of hours and raked in over $20,000 in online sales.
Odaingerous says the boxer briefs are 100% cotton to keep "your unmentionables fashionably stylish and secure."
Consider this a very hard launch, with a very significant date ... the boxer briefs go on sale Sept. 7 -- the 2-year anniversary of Joe's arrest.
This is what it's like when reality dating show worlds collide -- a lot of scandal over nothing ... according to sources close to "Love is Blind" couple Damian Powers and Giannina Gibelli.
Fans of the show, along with fans of "Too Hot to Handle" star Francesca Farago, were a bit stunned when a scantily clad Francesca left a trendy L.A. restaurant Tuesday night while holding onto Damian's arm ... lots of folks thought he and Giannina were dunzo.
Turns out ... it's all still status quo. We're told Damian and Giannina are still together and still in love ... he and Francesca are just friends, and Giannina's cool with that.
Our sources say Damian and Francesca share the same lawyer and management team, and their Tuesday outing was actually with the lawyer ... along with a couple of Francesca's friends.
Fact is, it's pretty common for these reality TV stars to run in the same circles and mingle ... which is what went down Tuesday night.
As "Love is Blind" followers know, Damian and Giannina were fan favorites but didn't end up getting hitched after D got cold feet. However, they reconciled right after the show and have been solid ever since.
Francesca, on the other hand, is single after recently splitting with her "Too Hot to Handle" costar Harry Jowsey. Though their relationship was short-lived ... it did produce a steamy workout photoshoot.
David Arquette's professional wrestling career has been both mocked and admired, but above all else, it's been bloody hard work ... and he says it's coming to an end soon.
The actor's journey as a pro wrestler began way back in 2000, but as he points out on "TMZ Live" ... he didn't have a clue then about what it actually took to be successful.
Fast forward a couple decades, and a battle-worn David is flying higher above the wrestling ring than ever before -- even at 48 -- thanks to a commitment to various types of training and a devotion to the sport he's loved for a long time.
David says he's still an actor, though, and despite his remarkable comeback -- which is the subject of his new documentary -- he claims he's calling it quits soon.
That's probably a good thing, because as you may recall ... David was badly injured in a bloody match in 2018, and damn near died in 2019 after continuing to dish out and take beatings in the ring.
Arquette's daughter Coco wasn't too pleased with all of this, but he tells us she's come to accept and understand it more after seeing the documentary ... which he calls a "love letter to wrestling."
The doc, "You Cannot Kill David Arquette," will be released on streaming services Friday.
Jeff Lowe's animals at the 'Tiger King' zoo have not been getting proper veterinary care for years ... according to the feds who've suspended his license to run the zoo.
As we reported ... the U.S. Department of Agriculture yanked Jeff's exhibitor's license for Joe Exotic's old GW Exotic Animal Park for 21 days, and now we know why the USDA finally made the call to punish him.
According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ ... the USDA cites Lowe for numerous failures in providing vet care for his animals dating back to November 2017.
The USDA points out that the number of animals at Lowe's zoo has exploded from 29 in 2017 up to 212 in 2020, and alleges he's simply incapable of taking care of all the lions, tigers, lemurs, monkeys and other animals he's accumulated.
Jeff's also accused of submitting false documents related to veterinary care and records. Specifically, the USDA claims he submitted reports from its attending vet in 2019 and 2020 ... even though that vet claims she resigned from the zoo in June 2018.
According to the docs ... Jeff and his wife, Lauren, have also violated regulations in exhibiting animals without sufficient distance and barriers between them and the public.
And of course, the USDA cites countless examples of allegedly mistreated animals from its recent investigation -- as we first told you -- like the 16-week-old lion cub that was too weak to stand, geriatric wolves in pain and a 17-year-old dead tigon that was not properly cared for or disposed of.
Finally, the USDA claims Lowe does not possess the required paperwork -- acquisition records and disposition records -- for a bunch of the zoo animals.
Lowe tells us the allegations of improper veterinary care have never been an issue until the most recent USDA inspection, which he previously dismissed as the government being "overzealous."
Jeff also claims the zoo has had problems keeping an attending veterinarian, as required, due to alleged harassment by PETA -- but he says they have one now, and adds ... they always had vets take care of animals when needed.
Uncle Sam is shutting down Jeff Lowe ... suspending his license to show off wild animals at Joe Exotic's old zoo ... at least for now.
A rep for The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells TMZ ... the 'Tiger King' star's exhibitor license for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park -- formerly known as the G.W. Zoo under Joe's command -- was suspended this week for 21 days.
We're told the suspension is the result of "recent inspections" at the zoo that were less than favorable. As we reported, investigators said several of Jeff's animals appeared to be weak and neglected. There was also a 16-week-old lion cub who was so thin, she could barely stand ... and was immediately taken to a vet.
Jeff called BS on the inspection, but clearly, USDA officials felt strong enough about their findings to pull his license. An exhibitor's license essentially allows a zookeeper to display everything from big cats, bears, primates and other USDA-regulated species. Without it, Lowe can't really run the zoo.
As for his suspension, Jeff says he and his team are confident they will be able to produce evidence to prove his animals are healthy. He also tells us that once he's back up and running, he's putting together a virtual zoo that visitors can access from home to check on the animals.
As you'd expect, PETA's already dancing on Jeff's metaphorical grave. The org thinks the suspension should be followed by a permanent revocation of his license ... although, the feds aren't saying that's on the table.
Joe Exotic still has Carole Baskin on his mind, even from behind bars ... and wants to get involved in the renewed search to find her missing millionaire husband.
TMZ's learned the 'Tiger King' star wants to jump right into the newly launched push to find out what the hell happened to Don Lewis when he went missing way back in 1997 ... and Don's family is welcoming his assistance.
The day after Don's 3 daughters held their news conference announcing a new lawsuit against Baskin and a fresh investigation, Joe reached out offering info from his prior investigations into Carole ... according to John Phillips, the lawyer for Don’s family.
We're told Don's daughters were down to work with Joe, and right now the plan is for him to speak to their lawyer to figure out what, if any, useful info he has for the investigation.
The family announced a $100,000 reward for info that leads them to Don, and as 'Tiger King' fans know ... Joe dedicated years of his life trying to dig up dirt on Carole, as he thinks she played a role in Don's disappearance.
Four of these new billboards offering a $100,000 reward from the family of Don Lewis are displayed around #Tampa ahead of a press conference Monday. This one is located down the road from the entrance to the Big Cat Rescue. https://t.co/sPk3IxirSp #TigerKing @WFLA pic.twitter.com/W8YrO7WlVv— Justin Schecker (@WFLAJustin) August 8, 2020 @WFLAJustin
Don disappeared on August 18, 1997, after leaving his Tampa home ... and some folks allege Carole fed him to her tigers. She's denied all the allegations.
We're also told Carole's been served with the new lawsuit, and Don's daughters want to finally sit down with her for an honest conversation about their father's disappearance.