UMG, Fox Launch Investigations As Republic Exec Walk Denies Sexual Misconduct Charge
Charlie Walk, the president of UMG's Republic Records and a judge on Fox tv's "The Four,The Battle For Stardom," has been accused of "relentless" inappropriate behavior in an open letter by a former staffer. Walk is denying the charge, but both Universal and Fox have launched investigations.
In open letter, former staffer Tristan Coopersmith has accused Republic Records president Charlie Walk of "relentless" inappropriate behavior.
"For a year I shuddered at the idea of being called into your office," wrote Coopersmith, "where you would stealthily close the door and make lewd comments about my body and share your fantasies of having sex with me. I was 27. No previous experience had taught me what to do in such a situation. So I laughed it off, gently reminded you that you were married with children, and tried to change the subject. But you were relentless."
"I was paid to keep my mouth shut."
"After a year of working in fear," she continued, "I finally called deep on my courage and shared my story with your counterpart. He wasn’t surprised. He told me that there was nothing I could do about it, but that he would help me coordinate a graceful exit if I wanted. I was paid to keep my mouth shut and my reputation intact."
The misconduct allegedly took place while Walk was president of Sony Music's Epic Records between 2005 and 2009. Sony has declined comment.
Walk is denying the charge. “There has never been a single HR claim against me at any time during my 25+ year career, spanning three major companies,” Walk told Deadline. “I have consistently been a supporter of the women’s movement and this is the first time I have ever heard of this or any other allegation – and it is false.”
But both Universal Music, which owns Republic Records, where Walk is president and Fox, where he serves as a judge on "The Four,The Battle For Stardom" have launched investigations.
"While it appears this blog post relates to the period prior to Mr. Walk’s appointment to his position at Republic Records, we take the allegations very seriously and intend to conduct a full and complete review of this matter," UMG said in a statement.
“We have only recently learned of these past allegations regarding Mr. Walk,” Fox said in a statement on Monday. “We are currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”
"There were so many Charlie Walks."
Coopersmith says that she went on to flourish in the music business after a move to LA. But she continued to see similar misconduct throughout the industry, "To you, Charlie Walk what you did was normal. It was a power you perceived to have earned, with a right to exercise it… my silence paid off. I was able to flourish in the industry, but the more that I did, the more that I saw there were so many Charlie Walks."