Why Charlie Walk Allegations Are Disappointing for Women Wanting To Pursue A Career in Music Business

It seems like as the days pass, more and more women (and men) are coming out about their experience with sexual harassment in Hollywood and in the workplace. The #MeToo and #timesup movement has proven successful by giving victims a platform to speak out. By reading other experiences, women feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences and their harassers/abusers.

Charlie Walk: president of Republic Records (Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Lorde, Hailee Steinfield, Julia Michaels, James Bay) is the latest to be accused of sexual harassment. It started with Tristan Coopersmith; whose blog post ill link down below. Since then two more victims have spoken about their experience with Charlie Walk. All these women being professionals in the music business world.

To give a little back story on me, working in the music industry has always been something I aspire to do. A couple of years ago, the person whose career I admire most in the industry signed to Republic Records with his new band. I watched as Walk took the bands career to these crazy new heights and gave the artist the career he’s always deserved. Walk saw the potential in this band that I had been seeing in their lead singer for 8 years. So, Charlie Walk became someone to admire. I thought, “I want to change someones life and give them opportunities they never thought they’d have with their music.” ¬†

I remember seeing Walk at an event full of celebrities and being the most starstruck by him. I wanted to ‘network’ and my nerves got the best of me. For once, I consider my anxiety a blessing. Still, I continued to watch his work with other artists and I continued to apply for internship after internship with Universal Music Group. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a cover letter to UMG praising the work of Charlie Walk and Republic Records. I feel ridiculous now, looking back, that I was admiring a man who really was just taking advantage of his power.

The music business industry is an industry that is absolutely dominated by men. Anyone who pays attention to the people behind the artists will know this. It’s no secret. If you go to a show, you’ll usually see a male-dominated environment setting up the equipment on stage. This runs true in record labels and artist management companies. Of course there are women but the male dominance is undeniable. I’m okay with it, though. Men are talented and I’ve met some of the best of them in the industry over the past few years.

When men in power take advantage of women, that’s when I become overwhelmed. I start to wonder if this is the way it’ll be forever. A man in power interviews a woman, tells her she should’ve worn a skirt if she wanted the job (yes, Walk did just this) and then tells the women already hired that they are going to get very far in the industry and be introduced to the best people, that is, if they engage in innapropriate behavior.

The industry already being so male-dominated, women have to work hard to get ahead. It’s sad that as women, we really have to prove ourselves but its the way it is. Now, we have to worry if our interviewers will be like Walk, basing a job offering on what we wear and not on the resumes and experiences we work so hard to build.

I am so proud of the women who have come out and shared their story with Charlie Walk. Had these stories not been shared, Charlie Walk would’ve continued to be someone I blindly admire and try to work with.

Walk has been axed from The Four and placed on leave by Universal Music Group. He has recently (in the middle of writing this) hired Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer to fight the allegations.

Good luck with that buddy.

Tristan Coopersmith’s letter


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