Warner Music Aus banned an NZ exec from its offices following a sexual harassment investigation
Content Warning: This article, which covers a sexual harassment incident related to Scott Maclachlan, discusses sensitive, sexual topics. If you or someone you know are affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Scott Maclachlan is well known as the NZ based ‘legend’ from Warner Music Australiasia/Saiko who discovered Lorde. However, by his own admission, he has shared a darker side to both his personal actions, as well as the music industry – one that involves sexual harassment and exploitation.
Talking to Stuff.co.nz, Maclachlan admitted to years of harmful behaviour and said he was in intensive psychotherapy.
“I do accept the harmful impact of my past behaviour and I try every day to repair the damage and prevent it happening again,” Maclachlan told Stuff.
In 2018, three years after Maclachlan and Lorde ended their management relationship in 2015, Maclachlan was hired as SVP A&R at Warner Music Australasia (which included responsibilities for both Australia and New Zealand). Within five months of accepting that role with Warner he was banned from visiting the Australian office and any gigs related to Warner artists following an external investigation into a harassment claim (not related to Lorde).
He was also demoted to A&R Specialist at that time, and was working from the major label’s Auckland office. There was little public information surrounding the reasons for the demotion, aside from that it was embroiled with legal issues.
A leaked email, dating August 2019, asked Maclachlan not to attend a Sydney gig despite being the manager of one of the acts, “referring to our settlement last year”.
“This show is considered to be Warner (sic) and work-related event even though you are in the manager role,” read the email, implying a ban.
Around this time, his colleague, Amy Goldsmith revealed that she woke to a text from him one night and said the text read, “I’m in really big trouble.”
She says that he gave her his version of events and that he had been “very drunk and obviously crossed some boundaries.” Goldsmith also shared that as a boss, Maclachlan was ”complex” and often emotionally manipulative.
Goldsmith also validated the sexual harassment claims. “He would insinuate he wanted more (than their professional relationship) he would comment on my body, he would ask whether I wanted to kiss him. Most of the time I just told him to shut up.”
Maclachlan shared with Stuff that he was remorseful for his actions towards Goldsmith. “I regret wholly that intense pressure and responsibility I put on that employee. I was in a very dark place, considered the employee a confidant and was reaching out for help. I, of course, realise that this was not the correct person to reach out to.”
Like many victims, Goldsmith doesn’t blame Maclachlan, but rather the standards set by the music industry.
“But the problem is really when those in powerful positions take advantage of that, with little to no accountability,” she shared to Stuff.
“Our industry relies heavily on networking and connections. We have a culture of sweeping things under the rug, often leaving the burden of change to victims alone. I think a lot of behaviour has gone unchecked because many of us, myself included, accept or downplay it as an ‘industry norm’.”
The investigative piece published by Stuff this morning also spoke to Lydia Cole, about accounts of sexual harassment. You can read the in-depth piece here.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.