The singer previously alleged Cold River president Pete O’Heeron had pressured her to “hug, kiss, and flirt” with radio programmers.
Country singer Katie Armiger and Pete O’Heeron — president and founder of her former label, the now-defunct Cold River Records — have reached a settlement in their years-long legal battle.
According to a joint statement released Friday (Oct. 25), the two parties reached a mutually agreeabkle deal “of the litigation arising out of the termination of Armiger’s management by Cold River Records.” The statement continued, “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.”
Cold River sued Armiger in January 2016, claiming the singer had failed to fulfill the remainder of her contract with the label after she was dropped from its roster in June 2015. In a counter-suit, Armiger alleged that O’Heeron and Cold River vp promotions Jim Dandy had pressured her to buy “hot” clothes and “hug, kiss and flirt” with radio station programmers to further her career.
Though a private settlement was reached in those suits, Cold River sued Armiger again in 2017 when she claimed during a Fox News interview that she’d been blacklisted from the industry after first coming forward with her allegations. Cold River said her statements breached a disparagement agreement that was part of the first settlement. That prompted a counter-suit from Armiger, which contained numerous allegations of misconduct on the part of her former label.
Friday’s statement includes conciliatory language from both sides. Armiger stated she “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. 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.”
Meanwhile, O’Heeron stated he “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.”
Last year, Armiger came out in support of a proposed bill in Tennessee designed to provide better protections against sexual harassment for those working in the music industry.
“I was a teenager dealing with radio programmers touching me under tables at industry events and making inappropriate sexual remarks,” Armiger said at the time. “I was instructed not only to tolerate it, but to encourage it.”
Cold River Records closed in September after 15 years of operation, with O’Heeron announcing he would be leaving music to focus on his career in medicine as the owner of a biologics company. Armiger is now enrolled in college and working at a law firm; her last album was 2013’s Fall Into Me, which peaked at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.