The owners of Billboard will conduct an independent third-party review of claims that the chief executive of the storied publication squashed stories that were exploring sexual-harassment claims against record executive Charlie Walk.
Five former employees claimed in a story published in Rolling Stone in February that Walk, now the president of Republic Record Group and earlier a top executive at Columbia, made sexual advances and lewd comments over a period of decades.
After the Rolling Stone story, Billboard assigned three reporters to look into the matter — but the stories were never published.
Walk claims the accusations against him are not true.
The record executive is a longtime friend of John Amato, the CEO of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. Amato had Billboard reporters submit stories about Walk for his review prior to publication, according to reports.
Valence Media, the parent company, told Billboard staffers on Monday of the review by outside counsel.
Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions, part of Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, were merged in February with Media Rights Capital — producer of movies such as “The Dark Tower” and “Baby Driver,” and the “House of Cards” Netflix series. The new company is called Valence Media.
Boehly is chairman of Valence.
“Valence Media takes editorial integrity seriously,” said co-CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk, the former heads of MRC. “After consulting with colleagues, including John Amato, we have commenced the process of appointing an independent third party to lead a comprehensive review of this situation,” the two wrote to staffers via e-mail.
“In addition, the review will ensure that our publications have and follow best-in-class policies and procedures, and a mechanism for people to share their perspectives and experiences in a confidential manner,” the e-mail said.
Amato “has embraced this path forward and supports a process that clarifies and resolves this issue…” the e-mail said.
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