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News March 29, 2018

Republic Records president Charlie Walk exits after sexual harassment claims

Lars Brandle
Republic Records president Charlie Walk exits after sexual harassment claims

Charlie Walk is out as president of Republic Records after an investigation into sexual misconduct with staff dating back more than a decade.

The executive and his employer, a division of Universal Music Group, have “mutually agreed to part ways,” according to a brief statement issued by Republic overnight.

Walk had enjoyed a high-profile stint as a judge in the first season of Fox’s U.S. TV talent quest ‘The Four,’ but he was conspicuously absent from the finale in February as news swirled of his alleged harassment (Walk said at the time he didn’t want to his presence to be a “distraction”). The exec had been on leave with Republic since January, when the company hired an independent law firm to investigate and ask employees to step forward if they had been mistreated.

The accusation that launched the investigation into Charlie Walk

Republic’s probe was launched when Tristan Coopersmith published an open letter to Walk on her blog in which she stated he made regular inappropriate comments when she worked for him at Sony Music’s Columbia Records. And on more than one occasion, he crossed the line with physical actions, she wrote.

Four more women came forward with similar stories published by Rolling Stone, which detailed incidents during his stints at Columbia, Epic and Republic.

Coopersmith issued a statement to Variety, which first reported the news of Walk’s exit: “I applaud all the women who shared their truth and I am gratified that Universal created a safe process for them to do so.  This behaviour in the workplace will only stop when we band together, unafraid. TimesUp.” A source at the record label told Variety that, as of Monday this week, his office appeared unaltered from when he went on leave.

Walk has denied all the allegations and Wednesday’s note from Republic revealed nothing more about its probe. In the earlier Rolling Stone story, Walk shared a statement that read, “I did not do these things and this is not who I am. Throughout my career I have always sought to conduct myself professionally and appropriately. It is upsetting to be presented with false claims from long ago that I know to be untrue and were never reported. I support the national discussion taking place right now because I believe fully in the importance in treating everyone with respect and dignity at all times.”

A Sony Music stalwart, Walk served in the promotions department at Columbia Records from 1990 until 2005, and for three years as president of Epic Records from 2005. He joined Republic Records as executive VP in 2013, and was promoted to President in 2016. At Republic, Walk guided the careers of Drake, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd and many others.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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