A former Sony employee has accused a major music exec of sexual misconduct in a powerful open letter
As the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements continue to grow, more women are coming forward and sharing their own stories of sexual misconduct. Now, Charlie Walk has been accused of sexual harassment. Charlie Walk is the president of Republic Records. He’s also a judge on Fox’s new singing competition The Four: Battle for Stardom. A woman named Tristan Coopersmith, who worked under him as the Director of Millennial Research and Marketing at Sony Music, alleges that Walk frequently sexually harassed her during her time at the company.
Coopersmith penned a candid blog post called “#MeToo: An Open Letter to Charlie Walk.” She began by describing how shocked and grateful she was to land a job with such a powerful figure in the music industry. Coopersmith said that Walk gave her the world: He introduced her to other important figures in the industry, took her to meet and greets, and gave her opportunities to succeed. Coopersmith also noted how special Walk made her feel. “You said I had raw talent. You said I was bright, savvy and necessary. You said a lot of things that I wanted to hear. You made me feel like a Unicorn.”
But the job wasn’t the picture-perfect gig she originally thought it would be. “You gave me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination. But you also made me feel sick to my stomach almost everyday [sic].”
In her post, Coopersmith went into great detail about the ways she says Charlie Walk sexually harassed her.
She alleged that he would call her into his office, close the door, and share his fantasies about having sex with her. She also said that he would instant message her sexual things and whisper vulgar words into her ear during business dinners. And she alleged that once, Walk tried to force himself on her in his bedroom while his wife was home.
"I was 27. No previous experience had taught me what to do in such a situation. So I laughed it off, gently reminded you that you were married with children, and tried to change the subject. But you were relentless," she wrote. "Cloaked in power, you knew how to get me right where you wanted me. Under your control. Playing your sick games."
After fearing Walk for a year, Coopersmith said she spoke up and left.
"I finally called deep on my courage and shared my story with your counterpart. He wasn’t surprised. He told me that there was nothing I could do about it, but that he would help me coordinate a graceful exit if I wanted. I was paid to keep my mouth shut and my reputation intact. I’m ashamed of that piece but it’s a truthful part of my story. I took that dirty money and moved to LA."
It’s frustrating to read that when Coopersmith reported the misconduct, money was used to negotiate her silence and the truth was swept under the rug. But now, she’s sharing what she says really happened — and how she found strength from it.
"To you, Charlie Walk what you did was normal. It was a power you perceived to have earned, with a right to exercise it. But to me it was insulting, confusing and objectifying. And it was a secret that I held for a very long time, my experiences only spilling out in flashbacks and nightmares. And my silence paid off. I was able to flourish in the industry, but the more that I did, the more that I saw there were so many Charlie Walks. I walked away from the world of entertainment 8 years ago and never looked back. Now I’m running a women’s sanctuary devoted to self-love, growth and empowerment. I find myself in a vortex of strength, courage and most of all morality. It’s where I belong so in some ways, perhaps I needed to endure you, to get here, so I’m deciding to be grateful for your part in my journey."
Coopersmith ended her letter to Walk by forgiving him.
"I don't wish ill for you, Charlie Walk. Only the possibility of personal awakening, accountability and transformation so that you can use your power for good. I forgive you, Charlie Walk. I hope you can forgive yourself."
Thank you, Tristan, for speaking up. It’s important to believe women.