October 15, 2021

ARIA confirms it has revoked Denis Handlin’s Icon Award

ARIA confirms it has revoked Denis Handlin’s Icon Award

ARIA is the latest industry body to strip former Sony Music chief Denis Handlin of an award.

The peak body for record music released a one-sentence statement on Friday afternoon, confirming it has agreed to “withdraw” the ARIA Icon Award presented to him in 2014.

“The Board of ARIA has today resolved to withdraw the ARIA award made to Denis Handlin in 2014,” ARIA said.

The decision follows mounting pressure after an explosive Four Corners expose that delved into the rise and fall of Handlin, and the toxic culture within the major label under his leadership.

QMusic also announced this week that it had decided to revoke a special Honorary Award which Handlin received at last year’s 2020 Queensland Music Awards.

QMusic said Handlin’s decades-long tenure at Sony Music had a significant human cost and it could not allow the celebration of his career to continue.

Attention now turns to APRA AMCOS and The Council of the Order of Australia.

APRA AMCOS awarded Handlin the Ted Albert Award in 2009, and are yet to confirm if they plan to follow ARIA and QMusic. TMN did reach out to reps today, but did not receive a response.

APRA AMCOS did, however, issue a statement on the morning after Monday night’s Four Corners report. In the statement, which failed to mention Handlin by name, it labelled the episode “distressing and disheartening viewing”.

The Council of the Order of Australia also issued a statement to TMN earlier this week, following calls for Handlin to be stripped of his Order of Australia Honours.

Handlin was appointed to the national order in 2005 when he became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) which recognises “service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group”.

In 2017, he was elevated to Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), which rewards “distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large”.

The Council provided a statement to TMN on Tuesday which noted “unanimous approval is not a criteria” for the award. It also appears that as Handlin has not been convicted by a court or found guilty of any law breaches, his Officer of the Order of Australia will continue to stand.

The Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat, which provides support to the Governor-General in the administration of the Australian honours system, told TMN the issue has been brought to the attention of the Council and it “investigates matters brought to its attention and considers each case individually”.


How did we get here? A timeline of  Australia’s upheaval 

12 April: Tony Glover sacked by Sony Music Australia over allegations of inappropriate behaviour
15 June: 
Sony Music Australia under investigation by head office for harassment & bullying
21 June: Sony Music Australia and New Zealand CEO Denis Handlin to depart
22 June: 5 questions that need answering after Denis Handlin’s exit
23 June: 
Sony Music’s Pat Handlin & Mark Stebnicki stood down as work culture investigation continues
24 June: ‘It is time for change’: Denis Handlin sends note to Sony Music Australia staff
24 June: Lawyers who previously represented Titus Day in battle against Guy Sebastian could bring class action against Sony Music Australia
28 June: Inside the Australian music industry’s toxic underbelly
12 July: Law firm considering class action against Sony Music Australia inundated with responses
26 August: Everybody Knows: A five-part investigation into Australia’s toxic music industry launches
31 August: Inside the investigation that will expose Australia’s music industry
1 September: Denis Handlin speaks: ‘I would never tolerate treating women in an inappropriate manner’
24 September: Wayne Ringrow departs Sony Music Australia
11 October: ‘Systemic bullying, discrimination & misconduct’: Over 100 people break their silence on Sony Music Australia
12 October: Sacked Sony executive Tony Glover denies sexual harassment allegations & says he was a ‘scapegoat’
12 October: Four Corners episode investigating Sony Music watched by 602,000 metro viewers
12 October: ARIA releases statement in the wake of Four Corners’ Sony Music report as artists stay quiet
12 October: QMusic revokes Denis Handlin’s honorary award
12 October: ‘Distressing and disheartening’: APRA AMCOS issues statement on Sony Music
12 October: Council of the Order of Australia not cancelling Denis Handlin’s AO honour
15 October: Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat issues statement on Denis Handlin’s Order of Australia