Music executive and The Four judge Charlie Walk vehemently denied allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against him by a former staffer. According to Deadline, on Monday night (Jan. 29) Walk said the allegations by a former staffer were “untrue” and “upsetting.”
Responding to allegations in an open letter posted Monday from Tristan Coopersmith published on the website of her Southern California wellness studio Life Lab, Walk said he was surprised by the claims. “It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident,” said Walk. “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.”
In her letter, Coopersmith details how “motivated and determined” she was when she had been hired by Walk as a 27-year-old trend forecaster to start her own department, but the opportunity came at a cost. “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,” she wrote. “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 also claimed that Walk would send her “vulgar” instant messages making sexual remarks and invite her to dinners where he would place his hand on her upper thigh under the table — often with his wife at the table. Once, at an event at his home, she said he cornered and pushed her into his bedroom and onto his bed, while his wife was in then room next-door. She wrote, “You being drunk and me being 6 inches taller was my saving grace.”
Coopersmith did not specify when the incidents allegedly happened, but it appears it could have happened while Walk was president of Sony Music’s Epic Records — a position he held from 2005–2009. Sony Music declined to comment. Universal Music Group said on Monday night that it intends to conduct a review into the allegations against the Republic Records Group president.
On Monday, UMG responded to the open letter with a statement. “While it appears this blog post relates to the period prior to Mr. Walk’s appointment to his position at Republic Records, we take the allegations very seriously and intend to conduct a full and complete review of this matter,” a spokesperson told Billboard in a statement. In a statement released on Monday, Fox, which airs The Four: Battle for Stardom, said it had only recently learned of the allegations and is “currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”
Coopersmith’s claims come in the midst of a wave of women and men speaking out about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Walk joined Republic Records in 2013 and was named president of the Republic Group in 2016.