Music Exec Charlie Walk Leaves 'The Four' After Sexual Harassment Claims
The judge was accused of sexual misconduct by two new women on Tuesday.
The Four judge Charlie Walk has left the Fox reality show after two new allegations of sexual misconduct emerged, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
In a statement late Wednesday to THR, Walk said: “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. I do not want my presence to be a distraction. 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.”
Walk is set to appear in Thursday's already-taped episode of The Four, but will not feature in the show's finale next week.
On Tuesday, two women claimed that Walk had behaved inappropriately toward them in Bob Lefsetz's Lefsetz Letter music industry email. These allegations followed an open letter published Monday on the website Life Lab, where founder Tristan Coopersmith alleged that Walk abused his seniority when she worked for the executive. In light of the new allegations, Universal Music Group has placed Republic Records president on leave on Wednesday.
"Republic Records is committed to a safe workplace environment where employees are treated fairly and respectfully. 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,” a Universal Music Group spokesman said Wednesday in a statement.
In the Lefsetz Letter newsletter published Tuesday, a former Republic Records employee claimed that while she was under the company's employment, Walk wrote inappropriate comments on social media pictures she posted, invited her to hotel rooms and invited her to events that were not appropriate for her position.
Another woman, who called herself a married business owner, said that Walk would often turn conversation toward her physical appearance and attractiveness in conversation with others and alone. She said she warned other women about Walk's behavior due to her personal experience.
In Coopersmith's open letter, published Monday, the founder of Life Lab, a Southern California wellness company, said that when she worked for Walk he frequently invited her into his office to make "lewd" comments about her body and "share your fantasies of having sex with me." Coopersmith additionally detailed inappropriate instant messages, invitations to dinners that weren't related to her work, inappropriate touching in the presence of Walk's wife and Walk trapping her in a bedroom one day when his wife was in the room next door.
Coopersmith also wrote that she told one of Walk's partners about his conduct towards her after a year of employment and "was paid to keep my mouth shut and my reputation intact."
Fox, broadcaster of The Four, is currently investigating Walk's alleged misconduct. "We have only recently learned of these past allegations regarding Mr. Walk," the company said Monday in a statement. "We are currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows."
On Monday night, Walk responded to Coopersmith's allegations to ET Online, saying, "It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident," he said. "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."
The claims against Walk are only the latest allegations to come forward in the music, film and television industries since the New York Times and New Yorker investigations of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein spurred a wave of new stories to emerge starting in October. On Sunday, attendees at the 60th annual Grammy Awards wore white roses in solidarity with the "Time's Up" legal defense fund, launched by Hollywood influencers to combat sexual harassment and abuse. The ceremony also saw an emotional performance of "Praying" by Kesha, who alleges that former producer Dr. Luke sexually assaulted and harassed her during their time working together.
Jan. 31, 6:55 p.m. Updated with statement from Walk.