The situation surrounding Republic Group president Charlie Walk is getting uglier by the moment. Now, the Universal Music Group executive is claiming that he was extorted.
As the Harvey Weinstein meltdown dominated the headlines in 2017, the music industry kept asking: are we next? Perhaps that question is already being answered.
Now, it looks like the situation surrounding Republic Group president Charlie Walk is hairier than we originally imagined. Just last week, Walk started battling back against numerous allegations of sexual abuse and assault. In fact, Walk enlisted Harvey Weinstein attorney Patty Glaser of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP to lead the legal counterassault.
It looks like Glaser’s first focus is a possible extortion attempt that prefaced the #MeToo allegations.
Emily Smith of the New York Post now reports that Walk’s attorneys have filed a complaint with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office against broadcast radio executive and station owner Tom Gilligan.
Apparently Gilligan and Walk haven’t spoken in twenty years. But Gilligan allegedly broke the silence with this purported text message:
“The Me Too movement will be knocking on your door… Karma is tough… Charlie you decided to take me and it’s just coming back at you. I want nothing else but to get you off the show embarrassing your family name, ruin your career, take half of your roster because they wouldn’t work for someone like you.”
Walk reportedly opted not to respond to a string of threatening messages. But Gilligan continued by asking for a favor involving Jon Bon Jovi (again quoting from Smith’s article):
“I’ll make a deal with you. I was told that you stepped in front of me with Jon Bon Jovi who is someone I know personally and have known since 1986. You fix that and I’ll back off… we can either come to terms or not…
“I want nothing from you. I will back off if you will do that for me. Or I can continue to harass you and put you on TMZ … use all of my powers which I have a lot of and blow your life up.”
Those text messages didn’t contain demands for money. But Walk’s attorneys may argue that a response would have triggered a flat-out cash demand (though, that’s difficult to prove).
Exactly what connection Gilligan has to Tristan Coopersmith — who alleged a year-long campaign of sexual abuse at the hands of Walk — is entirely unclear.
But the nature of the texts suggests that Gilligan had some connection back to Coopersmith, and may have ‘pushed’ the former Walk employee to come forward.
Adding further wrinkles to the plot, the texts were actually sent in late December. That’s just weeks before Coopersmith penned her open letter against Walk, a decision that unleashed numerous other abuse allegations. In subsequent comments to Variety, Coopersmith pointed to the Harvey Weinstein imbroglio and the Women’s March as inspiration for penning the letter.
Now, it looks like Walk’s bulldog attorneys are going to rip that ‘inspiration’ story apart — especially if they can connect a dot back to Gilligan.