Over the past two weeks, the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP has been probing allegations reported by Variety last month that Heather Parry, the head of Live Nation Productions, had verbally abused employees and used offensive language in the workplace.
But the lead investigator, Elena Baca, seems to be just as interested in uncovering who leaked internal information, according to several sources who have spoken with the lawyer.
Parry was placed on leave on Dec. 21 in response to a Variety investigation of workplace abuse, which included allegations from 23 former employees of Live Nation and Happy Madison Productions, where she previously worked. The employees said she routinely denigrated her assistants and other staffers and spoke in offensive terms about women, gay people, and African-Americans.
Variety’s story included excerpts from an audio-taped meeting, in which Live Nation president Joe Berchtold and CFO Kathy Willard told employees that Parry was unlikely to significantly change her behavior, and that staffers should try to forgive her. Two days before the report was published, an anonymous person gained access to the Live Nations Prods.’ Twitter account and accused CEO Michael Rapino of ignoring employees’ complaints.
In a statement last month, the company said it values its “open, accessible and inclusive culture,” and that it had hired a third-party investigator to look into the employees’ concerns.
Baca has met with numerous current and former Live Nation Prods. employees, according to the sources who spoke to Variety. She has asked about Parry’s workplace conduct. But in several of the interviews, she has spent about half of the time trying to ferret out leaks. Specifically, Baca has asked who recorded the meeting with Berchtold and Willard, and how the recording was disseminated.
She has also tried to get to the bottom of who had hijacked the Twitter account, asking which employees had access to the log-in credentials. Baca has also asked some employees if they had recently traveled to Thailand. She did not explain the relevance of the inquiry.
In a statement on Wednesday, a Live Nation spokesperson said that the investigator has been given discretion as to how to pursue the probe of Parry’s conduct.
“We have hired a third party investigator with the specific remit to conduct the investigation on Heather Parry’s conduct, and have given full latitude to the investigator to conduct the review as they see fit,” the spokesperson said.
Parry’s attorney, Martin Singer, said Wednesday that it was entirely proper for the company to try to determine who secretly recorded the meeting, which he called a criminal act.
Baca is the head of Paul Hastings’ Los Angeles office, and the co-vice chair of its employment law practice. She has worked on behalf of companies in several major cases, including representing American Apparel in its litigation with former CEO Dov Charney.
In a statement issued to Variety in December, Parry said she was being targeted “simply because of how others perceive a woman in power.”
She also apologized, saying “if I hurt someone,” that was not her intention. She also denied ever being sexist, racist or homophobic.