UPDATE (09/15/2020): After reports surfaced that Jerry Harris, a breakout star of Netflix's Cheer, was under investigation by the FBI in relations to allegations of sexual misconduct, the cheerleader has now spoken out through a spokesperson.
“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” the spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
Some of the screenshots included in the allegations are dated May 2019. Harris would have been 19 at the time. Netflix declined to comment.
ORIGINAL (09/14/2020): Jerry Harris, who came to national prominence after appearing on the Netflix series Cheer, is reportedly the subject of a FBI investigation. The former cheerleader has yet to speak out about the news.
USA Today reports that multiple sources confirmed that Harris is under investigation for soliciting explicit photos and sex from minors. As a result, a home in Naperville, Illinois was searched in connection with the investigation.
"The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area," Siobhan Johnson, FBI special agent and public affairs officer, told USA TODAY.
Harris is 21 years old and has not been charged.
According to USA TODAY, the investigation is based on allegations brought to Varsity, a company that has an almost monopoly on the cheerleading industry. Varsity alleges they learned of "inappropriate sexual conduct" allegations against Harris and forwarded that to police in both Florida and Texas. They have also "barred" Harris from having any affiliation with the company.
In their report, USA TODAY details two screenshots, one that appears to be a Snapchat message of Harris' face with the words "Would you ever want to ****." The other is a text message exchange.
"Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha," a message from someone labeled as "jerry harris," reportedly said. The text message exchange began in May 2019.
Cheer released in January 2020 and Harris became a breakout star for his "mat talk." The show was nominated for six Emmys, and Harris went on a strong press tour appearing alongside Oprah Winfrey, getting some time on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In February he also signed with Digital Brand Architects and its parent company UTA for representation in television, endorsement, and touring.