The public saga involving country singer Katie Armiger — who scored a Top 10 album with 2013’s Fall Into Me — and her former record label boss, Pete O’Heeron, appears to be over. Both parties have agreed to settle their longstanding legal claims out of court.
Stemming from Armiger’s dismissal from Cold River Records in 2015 — which she claimed was the result of her refusal to dress in revealing clothing and “hug, kiss and flirt” with radio programmers — a flurry of legal claims was unleashed, with both sides charging the other of wrongdoing. Then in 2017, Armiger appeared on Fox News to share her side of the story as part of the #MeToo movement, and she was sued again. Armiger stated that O’Heeron and company were once again out to silence her, but according to a just-released joint statement, terms to settle the dispute have finally been reached.
“Pete O’Heeron and Katie Armiger have reached a mutually agreeable settlement of the litigation arising out of the termination of Armiger’s management by Cold River Records,” the statement says. “Neither party has admitted any wrongdoing or liability, nor has any court ruled on the merits of either party’s claims or counterclaims. In order to avoid the expense, burden, and uncertainty associated with litigation, however, and in order to resolve the litigation completely, the parties have entered into a confidential settlement agreement.”
Many of Armiger’s supporters and others inside the country music industry will likely find the lack of a court ruling on the label’s alleged practices frustrating, especially as the disparity of opportunity between male and female artists in country becomes more apparent. Neither Armiger nor O’Heeron are admitting fault and both have offered statements with reconciliatory tones, although Armiger’s seems specifically designed to release O’Heeron from her harassment claims. Read it for yourself below:
“For her part, Ms. Armiger regrets any potentially damaging comments made by friends or fans about Mr. O’Heeron and Cold River Records and recognizes that Mr. O’Heeron was not individually responsible for the entirety of the negative experiences she faced in the country music industry,” the statement reads. “Ms. Armiger recognizes that, although she and Mr. O’Heeron had creative differences, his intentions and interactions with her were wholeheartedly aimed at promoting the best interests of her career. She is grateful to Mr. O’Heeron for his guidance and contributions to her career and thanks her friends and fans for their continued support.
“For his part, Mr. O’Heeron is disappointed that Ms.Armiger encountered any negative experiences by other industry professionals with whom she worked while promoting her music. Mr. O’Heeron recognizes the many challenges faced by women in country music and sincerely hopes that the industry changes for the better. Mr. O’Heeron and Cold River Records wish Ms. Armiger the best of luck with her career.”
Cold River Records closed down last month, and both Armiger and O’Heeron say they will not “publicly discuss their settlement or the lawsuits that led to it.”