‘I still can barely talk about it without crying’

Monica Aldama, pictured here attending the Build Series in New York City last year, is speaking out about how her team handled Jerry Harris’s child pornography charges. (Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

While Cheer’s breakout star Jerry Harris still remains behind bars awaiting his trial on child pornography charges, production for the Emmy-winning Netflix show is ongoing.

In a new interview 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 Harris’s situation 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, who has pleaded not guilty, in Cheer’s second season, which premieres on Jan. 12. 

In a trailer released by Netflix (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 was by far one of the show’s breakout stars since it premiered. But in Sept. 2020, fans were stunned to learn that 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.

Harris pleaded not guilty to all charges in December 2020. His case is set for a status hearing on Jan. 12 — the same day the Netflix show returns.

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 is 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 season of Dancing With the Stars.

In light of the first season’s criticism that the coach is too rough with her team, Aldama was quick to claim 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 Wednesday, Jan. 12.