More allegations accusing music executive and The Four judge Charlie Walk of sexual harassment have come out. As a result, Walk’s continued involvement on the FOX music competition is up in the air.
“Out of respect for the contestants, my fellow judges and everyone involved with the show, I have made the decision not to attend the finale of The Four,” Walk said in a new statement. “I do not want my presence to be a distraction.”
Walk continued, “Needless to say this is very upsetting. Although I continue to support the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened. I welcome any investigation so that in short order these unfounded and hurtful accusations can be put to rest.”
Some reports claim that FOX has already fired Walk. However, sources tell Billboard magazine that the network has yet to make a decision. Thursday’s show has already been filmed and will be aired as scheduled. But with the finale set to be taped on Friday February 2, a decision is imminent. Billboard reports “it’s not looking good” for Walk to remain on the show.
Two additional accusations were published in Bob Lefsetz’s music industry email newsletter on Tuesday (Jan. 30). Republic Records, where Walk serves as president, has put him on a leave of absence as a result.
“Republic Records is committed to a safe workplace environment where employees are treated fairly and respectfully,” the company said in a statement. “We have retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of this matter and have encouraged anyone who has relevant information to speak to the firm’s investigators. Mr. Walk has been placed on leave, and will remain in leave for the duration of the investigation.”
From Billboard’s account of the allegations:
One former employee of Republic Records accused Walk of playing mental games and inviting her to events she did not deserve. She said he also commented inappropriately about her photos on social media, made invitations to hotel rooms and more.
In one instance, after she was laid off from Republic, the woman wrote that Walk twirled her around in front of a current Republic exec and commented on her physical appearance, saying it was OK because she didn’t work for them anymore.
Another woman said she has privately warned other women about Walk, due to her own experience where he would repeatedly direct conversation to her physical appearance and how attractive he found her in front of others and when they were alone together. She self-identified as a married business owner and described her dealings with Walk as not only uncomfortable but embarrassing and degrading, claiming he would disregard anything she had to say about work. Additionally, she alleged, Walk — who is married with children — also sent her an inappropriate text message. Considering Walk’s power, she wrote, she felt her only option was to downplay these exchanges and not engage.
The initial allegation made by former employee Tristan Coopersmith on her company website, has been denied by Walk in a statement:
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.