Five women have accused Republic Records president Charlie Walk of sexual harassment in a new report from Rolling Stone published Thursday. (Walk was placed on leave at Republic earlier this year, following multiple sexual harassment and misconduct allegations.) These five accounts detail a pattern of Walk preying on young women, usually in their early twenties, who worked beneath him and were relatively new to the music industry. They describe Walk’s inappropriate behavior in the workplace as openly tolerated, which, in turn, contributed to a fear of speaking out against him.
One woman, whose name was changed to Emily in the report, was hired to work in Republic’s marketing department when she was in her twenties. According to Emily, Walk began following her on her private Instagram account, liking photos and making “weird” comments. “I didn’t even want any coworkers ever following me. The only reason I let Charlie follow me was because he was second in command,” she told the publication. She was laid off from Republic, and one day messaged Walk when she noticed he was in L.A., hoping he could give her career advice. Walk invited her to his hotel, and when Emily asked what was going on there, he sent her photos and videos of himself in his underwear. In one of them, you could see part of his penis, according to RS.
“Everything I thought was creepy definitely was,” Emily told the magazine.
Another woman, Kate Harold, one of Walk’s former executive assistants, said she experienced “near-daily sexual harassment and inappropriate gestures.” One day in 2006, she went to the bathroom while she was at a work dinner that Walk had invited her to, and when she came out, he forcibly kissed her and rubbed his crotch on her. “I felt extremely dirty and ashamed,” she said. “I was embarrassed. I just felt violated and gross.”
A third, Pam Kaye, who worked for Columbia Records when Walk was the label’s executive vice president, said she experienced “near-constant sexual harassment and inappropriate touching from the label executive.” She described once riding in a car with Walk in 2004, with other people present, and having Walk put his hand on her crotch. (Kaye was a regional promotions manager and previously had been Walk’s assistant for 18 months.) She said she moved it away from her and he tried it again. This continued until he put his hand under her underwear. “I just felt so much shame. I always thought that people thought that I wanted something from him...which obviously I never, ever did,” she said.
Melanie, not her real name, described meeting Walk in 2014 at a job interview at Republic, in which he was clearly not interested in asking about her qualifications and “just [kept] eyeballing me up and down.” A few weeks later, Melanie was working at Island Records, and the two met at mixer for Republic and Island. Walk put his arm around her and started whispering in her ear. “As he was talking to me, his hand moved from my neck and shoulder down my back to my ass,” she said.
Tristan Coopersmith, who was hired by Walk at Columbia Records some fifteen years ago when she was in her twenties, first accused him of sexual misconduct in an open letter published January 29 on her website. (Although Coopersmith and Walk worked together previously at Sony Music Group, which owns Columbia, Universal Music Group, which owns Republic, issued a statement saying that the company took her “allegations very seriously” and would look into them.) After Coopersmith, three women who knew Walk through work, came forward, anonymously, with allegations of sexually harassment against him.
At the beginning of February, Walk resigned from his job as a judge on Fox’s singing reality TV show competition, The Four.
Rolling Stone writes that Walk categorically denies all of the allegations in the magazine’s article. “I did not do these things and this is not who I am,” he says in a statement.
We’ve reached out to Republic for comment on the accusations, and will update this post if we hear back.
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