Music

President of Republic Records, Charlie Walk, Accused of Sexual Harassment

Republic Records is the label behind Hailee Steinfeld, Ariana Grande, Julia Michaels, and Nicki Minaj.
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UPDATE: Charlie Walk has been put on leave from Republic Records and has exited the singing competition, The Four, as a judge (despite it being the show's first season which just premiered last month). In a statement provided by Walk's attorney, he said, "Although I continue to support the 'Me Too' movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened." 

As more women step up to say “Time’s Up,” powerful men of the music industry continue to deny and battle against the #MeToo movement. Another president of a major record label has been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee, through a letter she published on her wellness website, Life Lab.

Tristan Cooperman, who worked at Sony Music with Charlie Walk, wrote in her letter, “you actually cornered me and pushed me into your bedroom and onto your bed. The bed you share with your wife … your wife who was in the room next door.”

Cooperman couldn’t believe it herself when Walk, the president of Sony Music’s Epic Records at the time, hired her and wanted her to start her own department, she said in the letter. “Cloaked in power, you knew how to get me right where you wanted me. Under your control.” She later knew that he would use her success as leverage to satisfy his “sick games.”

The music executive also recently premiered his first episode as a judge on Fox’s The Four: Battle for Stardom, alongside Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled, and Sean Combs (P. Diddy). Walk, not surprisingly, denied the allegation. “There has never been a single HR claim against at any time during my 25+ year career, spanning three major companies. 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— it is false,” said Walk.

Artists of Republic Records haven’t released any comments yet on the allegation, but the label’s women musicians are known to be strong supporters of #MeToo movement. Most recently at the Grammys, Julia Michaels joined Kesha on stage in her performance “Praying,” and Lorde stood up against the Grammys for not allowing her solo performance, through a pinned message on her dress. And Hailee Steinfeld released “Most Girls” last year, a feminist song about empowering girls to stray away from the male gaze. Which makes us wonder, what actions will they take after hearing about this case? 

Although Sony Music has yet to make a comment, Universal Media Group (the parent company of Republic) responded to Cooperman’s letter with a statement to Billboard. “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 on this matter.”

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