UPDATE: Walk has issued a statement following Republic Records placing the music executive on leave after accusation of sexual harassment. “Out of respect for the contestants, my fellow judges and everyone involved with the show, I have made the decision not to attend the finale of The Four,” Walk said. “I do not want my presence to be a distraction. Needless to say this is very upsetting. Although I continue to support the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened. I welcome any investigation so that in short order these unfounded and hurtful accusations can be put to rest.”
Republic Records executive Charlie Walk has resigned from the singing-competition TV series The Four: Battle for Stardom. He was also placed on leave at Republic following accusations of sexual misconduct.
Walk’s final episode of The Four, which was pre-taped, will air this week. That episode will not appear on the following installment, according to Deadline. Fox is reportedly still deciding how it will address Walk’s departure on air and how it will replace him on the panel. Walk was a judge on the show alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs, Meghan Trainor and DJ Khaled. The winner of the show receives a contract from Republic. Fox declined to comment on the dismissal.
Republic also announced it placed Walk, the company’s president, on leave while it goes through its investigation. “Republic Records is committed to a safe workplace environment where employees are treated fairly and respectfully,” a rep for the company tells Rolling Stone. “We have retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of this matter and have encouraged anyone who has relevant information to speak to the firm’s investigators. Mr. Walk has been placed on leave, and will remain in leave for the duration of the investigation.”
The decisions follow accusations that Walk had groped and otherwise sexually harassed a former female coworker. Tristan Coopersmith, who worked under Walk during his tenure at Sony Music, published a missive titled #MeToo: An Open Letter to Charlie Walk on the website of her current place of work, Life Lab. She claimed Walk, a married father, frequently propositioned her and detailed sexual fantasies he had to her. He’d send her “truly vulgar words and ideas” via instant message, she said. He also put his hand on her thigh at work dinners, she claimed.
“It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident,” Walk said in a statement earlier this week. “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.”
Walk started his career in 1990 at Columbia Records and, in 2005, became president of Epic until 2009. After switching careers into advertising and marketing for a brief interval, he joined Republic as its executive vice president in 2013. He was named president of the Republic group in 2016.