Republic Records Group president Charlie Walk is under fire again, accused of making unwanted sexual advances, lewd remarks, and inappropriate touching by five former employees. A month-long investigation by Rolling Stone uncovered the allegations, which are being leveled by Pam Kaye and Kate Harold, who worked for Walk at Columbia Records; two anonymous former employees; and Tristan Coopersmith, who first exposed alleged predatory behavior by Walk in an open letter on her website.
Among the new allegations described by 44-year-old Kaye is one work function during which she says Walk “took his hand and put it down the front of my pants. I had to subtly try to get his hand away. It’s like a game. He would test the limits as much as he could.”
Harold, who was Walk’s executive assistant, recalled an incident during which he “forced his lips on mine with a quick, hard kiss and then rubbed his crotch up against me, letting me basically feel that he had an erection.” She goes on to characterize her work environment at the time as “really scary and depressing and probably the worst time of my professional life,” adding that early on, Walk “sat uncomfortably close to me and told me that he could lift my career to extraordinary heights but that I had to be ready to do ‘whatever it takes.’ He was clearly implying that I needed to be willing to sleep with him.”
Similar patterns of behavior were described in testimonials by the anonymous accusers and confirmed by friends and associates who the accusers confided in at the time of the incidents.
In response to the article, a Sony rep says: “Sony Music believes in a safe, professional and respectful workplace and will not tolerate behavior that isn’t within these guidelines.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Walk said: “I did not do these things and this is not who I am. Throughout my career I have always sought to conduct myself professionally and appropriately. It is upsetting to be presented with false claims from long ago that I know to be untrue and were never reported. I support the national discussion taking place right now because I believe fully in the importance in treating everyone with respect and dignity at all times.”
The producer was first accused of sexual harassment in January in an open letter written by Life Lab founder Coopersmith, who worked with Walk when he was an executive at Columbia Records.
In the letter, posted on her website, lifelabhb.com, Coopersmith said daily meetings with the executive and conversations peppered with lewd and suggestive comments made her feel “sick to my stomach.” She also described an encounter with Walk during which, Coopersmith alleged, he “cornered me and pushed me into [his] bedroom and onto [his] bed.”
Walk was placed on leave from Republic Records after the first allegations surfaced, as well as cut from the season finale of “The Four,” on which he was a judge. He has also retained Patricia Glaser, the same lawyer representing Harvey Weinstein, to fight the claims against him.