Universal Music Group announced on Wednesday that Charlie Walk, the president of the label’s Republic Group, and the record label “have mutually agreed to part ways” following an internal review into the music executive’s alleged sexual misconduct, a UMG rep confirmed to Rolling Stone. The announcement comes one month after Rolling Stone published a detailed account in which multiple women accused Walk of making sexual comments, sending unsolicited, sexually explicit pictures and video, exposing his penis and inappropriately touching them both in private and in crowded meetings.
Universal promised to “conduct a full and complete review” into the Walk allegations after Tristan Coopersmith, who worked under Walk while the executive was at Columbia Records, penned a January 29th open letter to Walk listing the numerous instances of harassment she faced during her year-long employment at the label.
“For a year I shuddered at the idea of being called into your office, where you would stealthily close the door and make lewd comments about my body and share your fantasies of having sex with me,” Coopersmith wrote.
While Coopersmith’s accusations occurred at Sony Music, prior to Walk started working for Universal Music Group in 2013, Universal announced they would open their own review into Walk’s behavior at the label. Walk, who denied Coopersmith’s allegations, was soon placed on leave at Republic and resigned from Fox’s The Four, the music competition series he appeared on until Coopersmith’s allegations surfaced.
“The culture [at Columbia] allowed toxic masculinity from the top down,” a former female executive at Columbia who worked with Walk for over a decade told Rolling Stone following Coopersmith’s open letter. “So many colleagues have shared mutual stories but for fear of their careers are afraid to be on the record. I hope that Tristan’s courage will help all the women who have confided in me or their friends to come forward to help undo the culture.”
Over the course of a month-long Rolling Stone investigation, more women came forward with their own stories of Walk’s inappropriate behavior, which many employees claimed was an “open secret.”
“[Walk] took his hand and put it down the front of my pants,” Pam Kaye, a former regional promotion manager for Columbia Records, told Rolling Stone of a 2004 incident. “I had to subtly try to get his hand away. It’s like a game. He would test the limits as much as he could.”
Kate Harold, Walk’s executive assistant at Columbia Records, told Rolling Stone of an incident that occurred at a 2006 dinner with Walk and other friends and business associates. “Shortly into the dinner, I went to the restroom,” Harold, told Rolling Stone. “When I came out, he was standing right outside the restroom alone… Before I could do anything, he forced his lips on mine with a quick, hard kiss and then rubbed his crotch up against me, letting me basically feel that he had an erection.”
Walk categorically denied all the allegations in the Rolling Stone article. “I did not do these things and this is not who I am,” he said in a statement. “Throughout my career I have always sought to conduct myself professionally and appropriately. It is upsetting to be presented with false claims from long ago that I know to be untrue and were never reported. I support the national discussion taking place right now because I believe fully in the importance in treating everyone with respect and dignity at all times.”
“Emily,” who worked in the marketing department at Republic in the 2010s, told Rolling Stone that, following her employment at the label, Walk texted her a photo and video of “his hand underneath his underwear and part of his penis exposed.”
“I don’t think I would have ever [told my story] had he just fucking said sorry,” said Emily, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy. “I know he is a gross person and had he just said sorry to [Coopersmith], I wouldn’t be interested in talking about it.”