I hated the groupie scene at Atlantic too. The minute one of Ahmet’s artists came into town the first order of business was to get them laid. Ahmet would say, “Get the girls,” and I’d call through his Rolodex until I found someone ready, willing, and able. These guys would fuck girls young enough to be their daughters without thinking twice. Ahmet took great pride in it, like he was the Turkish sultan offering his concubines.
No woman was safe, not even upper-level executives. One day, Ahmet saw everyone going into the conference room and followed them -- he didn't usually attend meetings -- and he started the meeting by saying, “I have to tell you the most remarkable thing. Last night I went out to a concert. Afterward I went backstage with the lead singer and he had five girls lined up naked and we took turns fucking them, one after the other. Pussies are amazing. You’re fucking them, and they’re a mess, but after we finished, the girls showered and they looked great.”
Not one man in the room said a word -- they didn't stick up for the women, who shouldn't have had to listen to that story, and the women didn't or couldn't stick up for themselves.
It’s hard to explain why I put up with so much blatant misogyny. I had no female role models to look to for guidance. No woman had bucked the system and blazed the trail. In all the years I worked there, I saw only one woman stand up for herself. Atlantic distributed Atco Records, and a top executive there was cheating with his subordinate. His pregnant wife came to the office with a gun and said, “I’m going to blow your dick off.” Talk about blazing a trail. The woman also wrote a letter to corporate, but nothing happened. Her husband and his girlfriend both kept their jobs.
As for me, I needed the job too much to risk it. There’s an old joke Woody Allen tells at the end of Annie Hall: “This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken.’ And the doctor says, ‘Well, why don’t you turn him in?’ And the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’”
Why didn't I turn Ahmet in? I needed the eggs.
This article originally appeared in the Aug 2 issue of Billboard.com.