'Cheer' coach Monica Aldama addresses Jerry Harris's child-pornography allegations: 'I still can barely talk about it without crying'

·3 min read

While Cheer’s breakout star, Jerry Harris, still remains behind bars awaiting his trial on child-pornography charges, production on the Emmy-winning Netflix docuseries continues, with the show's second season set to premiere in January.

In an interview Thursday with The New York Times, Monica Aldama, the show’s figurehead coach, is opening up about how she and the team at Navarro College Cheer are handling the allegations against Harris as well as growing concerns over safety measures.

“I still can barely talk about it without crying,” Aldama said of Harris’s charges, adding that she’d received a letter from him following his arrest and briefly spoke to him over the phone. “Before I even realized how wild things would be, we were already filming,” she added.

As Yahoo Entertainment previously reported, there will be an entire episode devoted to allegations against Harris, in Cheer’s upcoming season, debuting Jan. 12 — the same day as his next court hearing. Harris pleaded not guilty to all charges in December 2020.

In a trailer released by Netflix (watch above), FBI agents appear to be conducting a search of evidence in the case against Harris. Aldama is later seen saying, “I can't even, like, process it right now.”

Harris emerged as Cheer's top star when the show bowed in January 2020. By that September, however, fans were stunned when he was arrested on one count of producing child pornography. Two days prior, he was accused by twin boys of allegedly sexually exploiting and abusing them, beginning when they were 13.

Cheer's breakout star, Jerry Harris, is currently behind bars awaiting trial on child pornography charges. (Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
Cheer's breakout star, Jerry Harris, is currently behind bars awaiting trial on child pornography charges. (Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

The first season of Cheer followed the Navarro College team, one of the best cheer programs in the United States, as they pushed through painful injuries like concussions, bruised ribs and twisted ankles against the pressure of grueling competitions. 

Now that the second season has wrapped after being halted last year due to the pandemic, Aldama said fans can expect to see how team members are coping with their newfound fame. She, for instance, appeared on last year's Dancing With the Stars.

In light of criticism that she is too rough with her team, Aldama claimed that the editing made it look much worse.

“I felt like they probably could have edited to show how hard it was without having every single fall we had,” she told the Times, explaining that safety is the team’s top priority. 

“Safety is number one. We don’t really have a lot of injuries besides your normal wear and tear,” she said, adding that they now have extra spotters when they’re learning new routines. “It’s just like any other sport, you’re going to have wear and tear because you’ve been physical and doing, you know, some kind of physical activity for probably the majority of your life.”

The fact that most people don’t realize how grueling cheer can be is exactly the reason why she wanted to do the show in the first place.

“I thought nobody really understood what we do and how passionate we are. You really do hours and hours at the gym,” she said, adding of her practices that "everyone needs a little something different. Some need a lot more than others because they don’t have it.”

Season 2 of Cheer premieres on Netflix on Jan. 12.

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