iHeartMedia Atlanta president Drew Lauter has departed the radio giant after video surfaced of the executive using racial and misogynistic slurs. The national radio conglomerate confirmed to Billboard on Friday (Oct. 14) that Lauter was no longer with the company, stating, “allegations of this nature go against our company values and our policies and we take them very seriously.”
The videos – provided to the local news station WSB-TV Atlanta, which first reported the news – shows Lauter repeatedly telling the driver, a fellow iHeartMedia executive, to “run over n—os” and using other racist language in front of two other iHeart employees, one of whom filmed the incident. According to attorneys Jason Castle and Roosevelt Jean, who are representing the client who filmed the incidents, the videos were recorded in August 2021 after a charity event.
In two videos, Lauter can be heard repeatedly using racial and sexist slurs and groping a male coworker while stating, “you better give me that t-tty.” Castle and Jean’s client – who is a top-ranking Black iHeart executive in the Atlanta region – claims to have reported the incident to his immediate supervisor at the time. He informed his attorneys that this was not the first instance of Lauter using racially insensitive language in front of employees.
In a statement provided to Billboard, an iHeart spokesperson said, “As soon as [the videos] were brought to our attention we acted quickly, retaining an outside investigator to conduct a thorough review, and when we received the outside investigator’s findings we immediately took decisive action.”
“From our client’s perspective, this isn’t about our client,” Castle tells Billboard. “It’s that this particular video is a representation of the hostile work environment and the discriminatory and racially insensitive, as well as sexually harassing environment that existed in the iHeart Atlanta offices.”
iHeart employees were reportedly informed of Lauter’s departure on Thursday, the same day the WSB-TV investigative report aired.
Castle says his client has not filed any legal action against iHeart or Lauter.