Universal Music Group sub-label Republic Records has officially parted ways with Charlie Walk. The dismissal follows an internal review over numerous sexual abuse allegations spanning decades.
Charlie Walk is officially walking away from Universal Music Group — and probably kissing his career away in the process. After an internal review related to mounting allegations of sexual abuse and assault, the label has opted to sever ties.
We emailed Republic for an official statement, and only received this terse response: “Republic Records and Charlie Walk have mutually agreed to part ways.”
(Funny, we’re used to getting voluminous emails extolling the benefits of various UMG product releases and tech partnerships, but hey.)
According to Rolling Stone, the label made the decision based on findings of the internal review, citing the Republic media team. Separately, we’ve heard from sources that Walk was being thought of as a ‘giant distraction’ by high-ranking Republic and UMG executives, with pressure mounting to boot the exec.
On the flip side, some executives speaking to DMN feel the situation around Walk had spiraled out of control, with Walk himself unable to properly defend himself. Indeed, that’s been a major criticism of #MeToo, a movement that has dethroned hundreds of executives largely without judicial process.
The development is a severe blow for Walk, whose career was rapidly ascending — that is, up until January of this year.
That’s when ex-employee Tristan Coopersmith dropped a serious #MeToo letter disclosing sexually abusive behavior involving Walk. Those incidents occurred at Sony Music Entertainment sub-label Columbia Records in the 2004-5 timeframe.
Walk denied the charges, though Rolling Stone subsequently conducted a month-long investigation into Walk’s past at both Universal and Sony Music. The result was a ferocious, lengthy teardown featuring numerous accusations from former employees and associates. It was an ugly report, with stories of pussy-grabbing, tackling young-20s staffers onto office couches, humiliating comments to underlings, and lots of not-so-subtle hints that career advancement was tied to sexual favors.
The former employees who came forward were exclusively 20-something female staffers at the time of the incidents.
F—king music industry. But I digress.
None of those accusations were litigated against, though Walk is lawyered by a superstar team.
That includes Harvey Weinstein’s bulldog attorney, Patty Glaser, among others. That legal team initially went on the warpath against industry analyst Bob Lefsetz, who merely predicted that Walk would be dismissed from ‘The Four’ (more on that later). He also accused Walk of being scum, though not sure there’s a law against that one.
Pointing the gun at Lefsetz seemed like a foolish strategic error, given Lefsetz’s relatively benign comments and high industry profile. Walk’s lawyers also seemed to greatly underestimate the fury of their target. Not one to be bullied, Lefsetz barked back with the assistance of industry power-attorneys Howard King and Peter Paterno of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano — and that ended that.
It also may have deflated a legal attack against Coopersmith herself. But Coopersmith looks like she’d lawyered-up as well: according to an email to DMN from Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the RIAA, Coopersmith was drawing on a pool of #MeToo attorneys who seemed ready for action. Indeed, Rosen herself looked suited up for battle.
Elsewhere, it appears that Walk will be nixed from Fox’s ‘The Four’, a budding singing competition that also features Diddy, Fergie and DJ Khaled. Not sure who’s on the shortlist to replace Walk, though Republic does have a pretty mean stable of A&Rs.
More as this develops.