Tom Wopat delays release of album due to legal battle
Tom Wopat, the “Dukes of Hazzard” star charged with groping a woman and indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl in Waltham, is delaying the public release of his self-titled album due to his legal issues, the embattled entertainer’s team said Monday.
“Due to Tom’s legal issues we are postponing the public release of the new album ‘WOPAT,’” the star’s representatives said Monday in a statement posted to his website. “However, it will still be available EXCLUSIVELY through [the] PledgeMusic [website]. When you purchase through PledgeMusic a digital download will be available on October 27th with any other products to arrive soon after.”
Wopat’s publicist did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking further comment.
The 66-year-old TV legend’s legal troubles began over the summer when he signed on to star in a Reagle Music Theatre production of “42nd Street” in Waltham.
He initially pleaded not guilty in August to charges alleging that he grabbed a female co-star’s buttocks during a July rehearsal and also possessed cocaine in his 1996 Ford Bronco when police took him into custody.
His publicist, Dan Fortune, has said previously that Wopat “firmly denies” the groping allegation and that he was “taking personal time to address his ongoing struggle with substance abuse.”
Then last month, new charges were filed alleging that Wopat also poked a 16-year-old performer’s stomach and hit her buttocks with his script, telling the girl, “Nice butt,” and also tried to gain entry to a woman’s dressing room but stopped when the teen confronted him.
Fortune hasn’t responded to requests seeking comment on the allegations involving the 16-year-old.
Wopat is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 24 in Waltham District Court on the new charges of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over, and two counts of accosting or annoying another person.
The announcement that he was delaying the release of his album comes amid the continued fallout over explosive allegations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and raped women, prompting A-list stars to come forward with harrowing accounts of harassment in show business.
Wopat earned a permanent place in the annals of television history with his star turn as Luke Duke in the long-running “Dukes of Hazzard” show and received Tony nominations for roles in “Annie Get Your Gun” in 1999 and “Catered Affair” in 2008.
He last month released a single called “ ’Til Death Do Us Part,” off the new record, in which he sings about heading to Fort Worth with a gun and a plan to take a woman back.
“Well, if I can’t have her, nobody else can,” Wopat croons on the track. “I’ll make her change her mind, she’ll take me back again. No one can read the words that are etched upon my heart. We were meant to ride as one, ’til death do us part.”
Monday’s announcement of the album release delay included a link to an earlier statement from Wopat where he previewed a number of promotional opportunities for fans.
He urged listeners to browse the Pledge Music website and “see all the options to get the music plus lots of other cool stuff like a one-on-one phone call, autographed photos and posters, grabbing a beer with me in NYC, and a lot more.”