Billboard is a magazine, music-ranking authority, and entertainment brand that was founded way, way back in 1894.
Which means that Billboard — along with The Hollywood Reporter — will probably weather this latest crisis. But firing the problem only goes so far towards solving it.
John Amato, the Chief Executive Officer of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, was recently dismissed for undisclosed circumstances. Up until last weekend, conjecture pointed to an unfortunate relationship with Charlie Walk, the Republic Records president ousted on sexual abuse allegations.
Amato had apparently muzzled stories about the Walk situation to protect his friend. Eventually, Walk’s skeletons emerged through other outlets, raising questions over why Billboard so diligently buried the story (or most likely, stories).
Now, those allegations are getting more serious. According to the Daily Beast, a probe deployed and conducted by the company’s managerial team found that countless instances of sexual harassment. Valence Media, which owns the conglomerate, apparently hired an outside consultant to probe into the issues.
The Daily Beast also interviewed nearly a dozen sources, and relayed stories like the following:
“Investigators learned about a widely witnessed event in which Amato made sexual overtures at a young marketing staffer at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. It wasn’t the only time he allegedly made comments to a younger colleague. Two people said staff were off put when he made a similar advance on a female staffer after the 2017 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas.”
Along with the investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations, the company recently undertook an audit of parts of the 2016 acquisition of SpinMedia for examinations of financial wrongdoing.
The outcome of the audit is not known.
Multiple handfuls’ worth of individuals within the entertainment media brand’s corporate ladder were allegedly abused by Mr. John Amato, whose life quite literally must be spiraling out of control as this piece is being written.
The aforementioned conglomerate media group is also reportedly making sure that it thoroughly investigates all other complaints made by employees. Which makes this feel like the beginning of a far bigger fallout ahead.
And this is already bleeding beyond Amato.
Julian Holguin— currently the company’s EVP for partnerships — was broiled by the Beast for scenes like this.
“In an email to human-resources director Angela Vitacco, a non-employee witness detailed how during a night out, Holguin repeatedly inquired with employees about whether they could attend a strip club, and asked repeatedly whether the strippers would sleep with him.”
“’He would go on to make NUMEROUS requests + inquiries regarding not only where strip clubs might be located…but also (verbatim) ‘Do the strippers here fuck?” said a witness in an email to Billboard HR, obtained by The Daily Beast. ‘He would go on to ask this exact question no fewer then 7 times w/in my ear shot. There was also a comment along the lines of him wanting to ‘eat some stripper snatch’ as well as disgusting references to how ‘beat up’ he liked them.'”
Wholesome stuff, though it’s unclear what’s happening with Holguin at this stage. But the Daily Beast noted that those that actually complained about Amato and his associate(s) were actually fired. Or, harassed about some innocuous violation that led to a dismissal weeks later.
Also getting blasted was chief revenue officer Moksha Fitzgibbons, though not for sexual misconduct. “Numerous formal and informal complaints have been made to the company against chief revenue officer Moksha Fitzgibbons, who was brought in by Amato earlier this year,” the report alleges.
“On several occasions, Fitzgibbons verbally accosted business-side employees in front of other colleagues for allegedly underperforming. He yelled at staff when clients changed meeting times, and on multiple occasions he yelled at staff loudly enough that employees in other departments could hear.”
Sounds like a horrible boss — though last we checked, that sort of behavior isn’t illegal.