Capitol Music Group has responded to an allegation made in HBO’s new “Tina” documentary that an executive in the early 1980s disparaged Tina Turner by using the N-word, calling the remarks “reprehensible and appalling.”
Said a Capitol Label Group spokesperson, “The incident that John Carter describes in the HBO documentary, ‘Tina,’ would have occurred 40 years ago when Capitol was under different ownership and management, and we’re only now learning of those reprehensible and appalling comments. Capitol Music Group is proud of our association with Tina Turner and the role we play in ensuring her music will continue to inspire new generations for decades to come.”
The doc does not specify which Capitol Records exec is said to have made the racist comments in the early ’80s. The disturbing exchange is recounted in the film via an old interview with a since-deceased subject, the late John Carter, who as an A&R executive at Capitol Records was responsible for bringing Turner to the label in the ’80s. Carter died in 2011 and took the secret of who said the slur with him, at least as far as any kind of public attribution.
Said the late exec in an interview excerpted in the film: “The classic quote is, ‘Carter, you signed this old [N-word] douchebag?’”
Carter brought Turner to Capitol at a time when her career was at one of its lowest downturns. He not only shepherded her early tenure at the label but also produced two songs on her first Capitol album, “Private Dancer,” including the title track. The album which was critical in transforming her from an oldies act to one of the world’s major pop superstars.
Nonetheless, Carter maintained in the vintage interview that others at Capitol were dead-set against signing her. Her previous album, 1979’s “Love Explosion,” had not even been released in the U.S. “Private Dancer” was eventually RIAA-certified for 5 million sales and was reported to have sold several times that many worldwide.
Capitol Music Group’s response to the remarks alleged by Carter in the doc was first reported by The Wrap.