Former Sony Music employee Tristan Coopersmith accused Republic Records president and Fox’ “The Four” judge Charlie Walk of sexual misconduct in an open letter that published on Monday. After another accuser came forward on Wednesday — and multiple other women sounded off in social-media posts and comments sections — he was suspended from both jobs.
On Thursday, ET Insider published a video interview with Coopersmith where she spoke about her reasons for publishing the letter.
Asked why she chose to share it when she did — which happened to be the morning after the Grammy Awards — she replied, “I don’t think there’s a convenient time to share something that’s hard to share.
“I wrote that letter as part of my own therapeutic process,” she continued. “Back when the original Harvey Weinstein accusations came out, truly something was unlocked in me and an experience I had put away for over a decade all came flooding back. Then I went to the Women’s March and I was truly impacted by that experience and I realized that I needed to share my truth.”
As for her goal in sharing it, “My purpose was to continue the conversation,” she said. “This isn’t about Charlie or the music industry or anybody’s career getting ruined — it’s a much broader conversation about a massive shift we need to have in workplace.”
The interviewer then reads Walk’s statement denying the accusations, which reads: “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.”
“I know it’s not true,” Coopersmith said. “I lived to tell the tale and I know it’s not just me. That’s what gives me a lot of courage, I’m not alone in this.
“My intention isn’t about a confrontation,” she continues. “Our morality has to be heightened because we are on a really low vibration right now. I hope other women are inspired to continue the conversation the way that I have. We have to have a massive shift: We are not humankind anymore. We are human unkind.”
Coopersmith’s accusation arrived at an exceptionally sensitive time: Over the past several months, executives including former Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid, Def Jam cofounder Russell Simmons and Warner Bros. executive Jeff Fenster have stepped down from posts in the wake of sexual harassment accusations leveled against them. And Sunday’s Grammy Awards — which featured a moving #MeToo-themed segment from Kesha and speech from Janelle Monae — became embroiled in gender issues owing to the low number of female nominees and winners and a poorly worded comment from Recording Academy chairman Neil Portnow, who said that women artists and executives need to “step up” in order to receive more equal recognition going forward: he later said he regretted his choice of words.