Saturday 10 December 2016

Nathan Carter opens up about his RTE interview with alleged child abuser Toby Willis: ‘I was really shocked when the news broke’

Published 13/11/2016 | 12:10

An interview with Toby Willis has been pulled from Nathan Carter's show by RTE
An interview with Toby Willis has been pulled from Nathan Carter's show by RTE

Country music star Nathan Carter said he was “shocked” when an interviewee set to feature on his RTE show was arrested on a child rape charge.

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The Wagon Wheel singer had interviewed Toby Willis, the father of a 12-piece band made up of his children, for the Nathan Carter Show but the segment was pulled by RTE after the Nashville musician was arrested on child rape charges in September.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said they began investigating Willis on 29 August and “developed information Willis had a sexual encounter approximately 12 years ago with an underage female”.

The TBI said Willis was arrested in Greenville, Kentucky, where he had reportedly travelled to in order to avoid police.

The Willis Clan appeared on America's Got Talent -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The Willis Clan appeared on America's Got Talent -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

In his column in The Sunday World, Carter admitted he was “shocked” by the arrest.

“Like everyone else, I was really shocked when the news broke in September that Toby Willis, the father of the Willis Clan, was arrested on a child rape charge shortly after the group performed on my new RTE TV show,” he said.

“During the recording of the show in Sligo I interviewed Toby and his wife Brenda. The interview was all about the 12 children and their rise to stardom, appearing on America’s Got Talent, doing Irish dancing, traditional music and even wrestling.

“RTE dropped that segment from tonight’s show after Toby Willis was charged just eight days later after being arrested upon his return to America,” said Nathan.

Although the interview with Willis will be pulled from the show, Nathan commended RTE decision to air the children’s performance on tonight’s show.

“I’m delighted that RTE have taken the decision to include the performance of the kids on tonight’s show and to let them have their moment because their father’s arrest has nothing to do with them.”

Willis and his family starred in The Willis Family, a reality TV show which followed their life as a musical family of 14 from Nashville, Tennessee. However, TV network has pulled all episodes of the programme from its channel following the arrest. The show follows the parents and their 12 children whose names all begin with the letter "J" showcasing their musical and dancing skills. The family of entertainers, known onstage as The Willis Clan made it to the quarter finals of season nine of America's Got Talent.

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