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Universal places Charlie Walk on leave, as more accusations of sexual harassment emerge

By | Published on Thursday 1 February 2018

Charlie Walk

Republic Records President Charlie Walk has been placed on leave by Universal Music and will not appear on the finale of TV singing competition ‘The Four’, as a further accusation of sexual harassment comes to light.

The initial allegation against Walk was made by former Sony/Columbia marketing exec Tristan Coopersmith earlier this week, relating to incidents that allegedly occurred when Walk worked at Sony Music. Two more women then spoke to Bob Lefsetz, at least one of whom had worked for the exec more recently at Universal’s Republic division. Now more women have come forward describing their experiences with him.

Walk initially issued a statement saying that Coopersmith’s claims were “untrue”. However, in an email to Deadline, the latest woman to come forward says: “I cannot believe Charlie’s claims that this story is false, when I worked for him at Republic … to many of the same patterns. I was not planning to share mine, but if it helps clear Tristan’s name (who I’ve never met) then I’m in”.

She goes on to say that Walk made inappropriate comments while she worked with him at Republic. After being made redundant, she says that he sent her explicit photos of himself on Snapchat and invited her to join him at a hotel.

“I didn’t work there anymore, which doesn’t make it OK”, she says. “But it does corroborate [Coopersmith’s] story. Yes, he is a person who does these things. At the same time I was so upset. Is this why I got laid off? Did I get laid off so you could ask me to sleep with you? That’s how I felt. It’s a very shitty feeling”.

Meanwhile, a former Republic intern, Alexandra Valenti, has written on Facebook about the culture fostered by Walk at the company. She wrote that one of the executive’s subordinates made working their unpleasant, at times threatening to stop her career from progressing. She felt unable to complain because she suspected his actions were sanctioned by Walk.

“I went to work every single morning sick to my stomach and terrified”, she writes. “I listened to that corner of the office objectify and ridicule women on a daily basis. I left that internship wanting to give up on my dreams of working in the industry”.

Universal previously said that it would “review” Coopersmith’s accusations, despite the alleged incidents not having taken place while Walk worked at the company. Yesterday, the major label announced that Walk “has been placed on leave, and will remain on leave for the duration of the investigation”.

The company has asked all Republic employees with information on harassment by Walk or any other member of staff to speak to the independent law firm conducting the investigation.

Walk is also a judge on US TV singing competition ‘The Four’, which is currently airing its first series on the Fox network. He will now not appear on the finale episode, due to be broadcast next week.

In a statement to Fader, Walk says: “I do not want my presence to be a distraction. Needless to say this is very upsetting. 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. I welcome any investigation so that in short order these unfounded and hurtful accusations can be put to rest”.