Charlie Walk Denies Sexual Assault Charges — But More Accusations Emerge (Updated)

Universal Music Group executive Charlie Walk says the sexual assault allegations from a 2004 employee are absolutely ‘untrue’ and ‘upsetting’.  Meanwhile, UMG and Fox’s ‘The Four’ have launched internal investigations — and more accusations are emerging.

Updated, Tues 4:30 pm PT: More accusations have now emerged against Charlie Walk, specifically to Bob Lefsetz of the Lefsetz Letter.  In one email, Walk is accused of making sexually suggestive comments to a female staffer, then taunting her while commenting on her appearance — after she was laid off.  “One time after I was laid off from Republic he twirled me in front of Joe Carozza, Republic’s head of PR, and said something like, ‘She’s so hot, look at her, I can say it now that she doesn’t work for us.'”

Another commented: “I have warned other women behind closed doors of Charlie Walk but I have never spoken publicly about how uncomfortable and inappropriate he was to me when I worked with him years ago. From repeatedly directing the conversation to my looks, my figure, my eyes and how attractive he found me (I am a married woman and business owner), both in front of people and when alone. He would take a perfectly normal business encounter and steer it toward objectifying me and completely disregard anything I had to say about work (which could be hugely embarrassing, awkward and degrading when said in front of other members of the company). He had also sent me inappropriate text around that time which left me to wonder, where did this man (who is married with children) think exchanges such as these were going to go exactly?”

Here’s our original story from earlier this (Tuesday) morning:

Universal Music Group executive Charlie Walk is fighting back against serious allegations of sexual assault and intimidation, labeling a lengthy accusation from 2004 as ‘untrue’.

Monday, January 29th: ‘Universal Music Executive Charlie Walk Faces Serious Sexual Assault Accusations

Walk declined to respond to Digital Music News, perhaps preferring the tamer platform of Billboard.  Either way, this executive is swiping back:

“It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident,” Walk responded. “There has never been a single HR claim against me at any time during my 25+ year career, spanning three major companies.

“I have consistently been a supporter of the women’s movement and this is the first time I have ever heard of this or any other allegation — and it is false.”

No counter-response from Tristan Coopersmith, who worked with Walk during the 2004-5 timeframe when the alleged assault incidents occurred.

But maybe Coopersmith has already unloaded all of her ammo.  In a lengthy and damaging open letter posted this week, Coopersmith outlined a systematic, daily routine of sexual harassment at the hands of Walk.  Coopersmith alleges a torrent of overt sexual advances and physical attacks from the high-ranking exec — and suggest that she wasn’t the only one.

Coopersmith says she left a plum job at Columbia Records after just one year due to distress — with a fat cash settlement to keep things quiet.

All of which makes the idea of an ‘HR complaint’ pretty laughable — and a blunder in Walk’s response.  After all, the HR department at a major corporation like Sony Music Entertainment is likely to protect its own, though that doesn’t make Coopersmith’s allegations true.  Sadly, this report is tricky to confirm — especially given its occurrence more than 13 years in the past.

That doesn’t mean that UMG and Fox aren’t willing to try.  Both organizations have issued statements promising a full investigation into the matter.

Currently, Walk is the president of Republic Group, a prominent subdivision of the world’s largest recording label.  Accordingly, sources to Digital Music News said that Coopersmith’s letter was ‘read aloud’ amongst staffers, perhaps in a closed-door conference room.

Whether Walk is planning to address his troops — or, already has — is unknown.

Here’s UMG’s official response to the matter:

“While it appears this blog post relates to the period prior to Mr. Walk’s appointment to his position at Republic Records, we take the allegations very seriously and intend to conduct a full and complete review of this matter.”

Fox has also chimed in:

“We are currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”

Interestingly, neither group has knee-jerk fired Walk.  That is telling, and could indicate a growing backlash against a torrent of accusations against powerful men.  In this case, like many others, the facts have not been verified.  Sadly, a rush to judge has already ruined dozens of careers — even though  in many cases, the facts weren’t quite sifted through.

 

 

More as this develops.

 


 

8 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Shlomo

    How can he ever come back from this even if What they’re saying is untrue?

    How come none of these women ever reported his behavior to HR previously?

    Maybe now that he’s on TV the opportunity is just right for these women.

    Give it a week before lawsuits start flying. Fun times ahead.

    • Avatar
      MeToo

      How come none of these women reported the incident to HR? Cause reporting senior men to HR has always worked out really well for women, particularly 10-15 years ago when harassment policies didn’t even exist.

      • Avatar
        NotMetoo

        Wrong.

        Every company Charlie Walk worked at had clear, stated harassment policies in place.

        Reporting violations to H.R. got many, many reporting women BIG paydays.

        • Avatar
          MeToo

          You worked at every company he worked at during the same time? Interesting. Not all women want payouts and to leave the industry, some actually just want a career. This can be a little hard to maintain after you file a harassment complaint against the boss.

  2. Avatar
    Andrew

    Presumably any pay off can be documented by Coopersmith. If so then Walk and/or Sony or a.n.other will have some explaining to do.

  3. Avatar
    NotMetoo

    Yeah, and that explanation might very well legitimately be: ” We paid her off, ONLY because doing so was cheaper, far quicker and just easier than actually fighting her claims.”

  4. Avatar
    Anonny

    For those that think it’s easy to speak out against sexual harassment, check your privilege and about this case… know the facts. Automatic belief in Walk’s claims denies at least three separate women’s accounts and numerous male accounts of his disgusting behaviour. And OF COURSE Walk is denying these allegations… he’s been a predator w power and influence in the music industry for over two decades w an ego to match. Women in the industry know Walk and others like him in the music industry, AND know that any talks w HR lead to a job reassignment for the female victim (at best) or to a more vulnerable position w the accused where no action is taken and he feels more inclined to act more disgusting w even less regard than before.

  5. Avatar
    Melanie

    I’m watching the 1st season of The Four, I don’t even know this that Charlie Walk guy- never saw him before, but he gives me the worst feeling watching him. I also noticed he likes only the young girls. Totally feel a child molester vibe. Very creepy.