Cheer star Jerry Harris skyrocketed to fame after the Netflix series debuted earlier this year, but following his arrest, fans questioned how well they really knew him.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago confirmed on Thursday, September 17, that the TV personality, 21, was taken into custody on production of child pornography charges. A report surfaced on Monday, September 14, that he was under investigation by the FBI for claims that he “solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.”
“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” a spokesperson for the Netflix star told Us Weekly in a statement. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
Twin brothers, now 14, claimed in interviews with USA Today that Harris harassed them online and in person at cheer competitions when they were 13. The reality star would have been 19 at the time. According to TMZ, the complaint claims that Harris admitted to engaging in conversations with the minors that were sexual in nature.
Varsity Brands, a company within the cheerleading industry, also reported Harris to police after he allegedly asked one of the boys to have sex with him at two of Varsity’s competitions in 2019. The brand’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, wrote letters to authorities in Florida and Texas to convey that the company had “barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future.”
After Cheer premiered in January, Harris became a breakout star, though he noted that the attention could be fleeting. “The newfound fame won’t change who I am because just as quick as it came, it can get taken away,” he told Vanity Fair in May.
The Illinois native also opened up about his passion for cheerleading, which he revealed began “at a very young age.”
“We never had the most money and I lost my mom at 16, but cheer has become my family,” he said. “It has made me the person I am today.”
Scroll down to learn more about Harris and how his star rose in Hollywood before his arrest.
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