Charlie Walk, the head of Republic Records, a division of major label Universal Records, has been accused of sexual misconduct by former colleague Tristan Coopersmith, in an open letter published on her website Monday night. By Tuesday morning, Walk had responded (via Deadline):
“It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident. 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 is known for his behind-the-scenes work in launching successful single campaigns for pop artists, including Enrique Inglesias, Taylor Swift, and Lorde. He also signed Pitch Perfect’s Hailee Steinfeld to Republic Records.
The sexual misconduct allegations outlined by Coopersmith show a pattern of manipulative behavior and illustrate how Walk came onto her, a young, up-and-coming woman in the music business, after posturing himself as her mentor. According to Coopersmith’s letter, Walk hired Coopersmith as a trend forecaster and introduced her to other music executives, including Russell Simmons, who now faces multiple accusations of sexual assault. She wrote:
You said I had raw talent. You said I was bright, savvy and necessary [...] You introduced me to other music moguls like Donnie Ienner and Lyor Cohen and my ultimate (now fallen) hero, Russell Simmons [...] You gave me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination.
But you also made me feel sick to my stomach almost everyday. 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. I was 27. No previous experience had taught me what to do in such a situation. So I laughed it off, gently reminded you that you were married with children, and tried to change the subject. But you were relentless.
Coopersmith goes on to state that Walk repeatedly made lewd comments about her, over instant messenger and in person, inviting her to dinners so that he could put his hand on her thigh under the table. One night, Coopersmith alleges, Walk drunkenly pushed her into his bedroom and onto his bed, and that she was able to exit the situation.
She wrote, “I don’t wish ill for you, Charlie Walk. Only the possibility of personal awakening, accountability and transformation so that you can use your power for good. I forgive you, Charlie Walk. I hope you can forgive yourself.”
We’ve reached out to Republic Records for comment and will update this post if they respond.