In September of 2020, the world was stunned by the arrest of Jerry Harris, beloved breakout star of the smash hit Netflix series “Cheer” on charges of possession of child pornography. He was subsequently questioned and admitted to having solicited sexual images and videos from 10-15 victims and of having sex with a child at a cheerleading competition in early 2019. Though his attorneys petitioned to allow Harris to be released on bond and remanded to house arrest, the judge deemed him a clear and present danger and he has remained in prison pending trial. If convicted he faces at least 15 years in prison.
When I initially covered this story, the conversation revolved around how often the most likable individuals can secretly be sexual predators and how to reconcile this fact. Harris had become such a celebrity — appearing on Ellen, the Oscars, scoring numerous endorsement opportunities and even being recognized by President Biden for his contributions to bringing the sport of cheerleading to the forefront — that everyone thought they knew him. And yet…nobody can really know what happens behind closed doors… even someone’s best friends and family.
In the second season of “Cheer,” which premiered on Netflix on January 12, episode 5 is dedicated to the allegations against and reaction to Jerry Harris’ child pornography charges. In the episode, the victims who brought the allegations against him, Charlie and Sam, describe in detail not only how their relationships evolved with Harris, but the harrowing experience of coming forward. They faced enormous backlash from the entire cheer community and were shunned by not just teammates and friends, but everyone they had come to know as their safe space within cheerleading. The
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