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News October 12, 2021

QMusic revokes Denis Handlin’s honorary award

Editorial Operations Manager
QMusic revokes Denis Handlin’s honorary award

Disgraced former Sony Music Australia CEO Denis Handlin has been stripped of his special Honorary Award which he received at last year’s 2020 Queensland Music Awards.

Award organisers 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.

“Last night’s harrowing Four Corners investigative report laid bare the undeniable fact that the culture at Sony Music Australia during Denis Handlin’s tenure came with significant human cost,” a note to members this afternoon said.

“Following ongoing reports of systemic bullying, discrimination and misconduct under Handlin’s leadership, we cannot let QMusic’s acknowledgement and celebration of his career stand.

“Toxic workplaces, be they in the office, boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music.

“We cannot, and should not, accept nor celebrate this kind of culture. The future of music must be one that is safe, supportive and equitable for all.”

The note is signed by QMusic’s president Natalie Strijland and its CEO Kris Stewart.

Last night’s Four Corners program delved into the rise and fall of Handlin, as well as the toxic culture within the major record label under his leadership. It included claims of bullying, harassment, intimidation and abuse over decades, as well a story about a sexual assault survivor leaving the organisation with an $80,000 payout while the alleged perpetrator continued with the company for years.

Handlin, as well as other ousted executives, have thus far denied the accusations levied against them.

How did we get here? A timeline of Sony Music 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


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