2/7 UPDATE: Tristan Coopersmith is being repped by former RIAA chief, activist and cable-TV commentator Hilary Rosen, who confirms that she, like Coopersmith, is involved in the #MeToo movement.  

2/6 PM UPDATE: Charlie Walk’s legal team is going after an infamous (and some would say insufferable) industry newsletter for posting a series of incriminating comments from readers. On 1/29, the industry blogger was among the first to draw attention to Tristan Coopersmith’s open letter, which inspired others to come forward with their stories, though few identified themselves by name.

In a 2/6 letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, attorney Thomas Clare tells said blogger the statements were not only false but also were published with a reckless disregard for the truth, setting the stage for a potential defamation claim.

“It was especially reckless that, contrary to well-established journalistic standards and basic considerations of fairness, you did not even bother to contact Mr. Walk before publishing these false and damaging allegations and validating them with your own imprimatur,” Clare writes. “Surely your readers would have been glad to know what has really been taking place, including a criminal report to the authorities.”

A subsequent piece on Deadline suggested that Clare’s allegations contained inaccuracies and were greatly exaggerated. The way reporter Dominic Patten put it, “lawyers for Walk are lumberingly seeking to have all mention and links of his exit from The Four and the claims against him erased.” But these legal tactics “may have just created the reverse outcome.”

In other action, Walk was the subject of a segment on Page Six TV, hosted by Emily Smith, who wrote the story cited immediately below.  

2/6 AM UPDATE: Monday morning, Page Six published its first reportage on the Charlie Walk situation. The story revealed that Walk had filed a complaint with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claiming he was being extorted by one Tom Gilligan, who was GM of MM Group Radio for three years beginning in 1990 (Gilligan later became a station owner and thereafter went into TV and production.)

The complaint alleges that Gilligan had “threatened to unleash the #MeToo movement against [Walk] in the months before he was accused of sexual harassment.” These threats came in the form of “a series of bizarre texts and voicemails threatening to ‘use all of my powers… and blow your life up.’”

Walk’s legal team reported the extortion behavior to the Manhattan DA in late December (12/26, according to a subsequent post on another media outlet) and met with the DA’s team on Jan. 9, 20 days before Tristan Coopersmith’s open letter hit the press.

Contacted by Page Six about any possible connections with Gilligan, Coopersmith said flatly, “I have no idea who that is.”

Walk attorney Duncan Levin told Page Six, “The bottom line is that Charlie was hit by bizarre claims that he strenuously denies the month after he rebuffed the threats of this very same thing if he didn’t cooperate.”

Speaking of bizarre, a few hours after the Page Six story appeared, TMZ posted its own typically sensationalistic coverage containing a voicemail that “a source close to Charlie claims was left by…Gilligan, [who] tells us he doesn't recall leaving a voicemail for Walk but does acknowledge he was drunk and upset with him around the same time.”

2/1 UPDATE: Charlie Walk has been put on leave from Republic. A statement from the label reads: “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 on leave for the duration of the investigation.”

The statement was issued in the wake of a Deadline report. A story published immediately thereafter by the same site says the executive was dismissed from The Four by Fox; Walk issued a statement about the finale that tapes Friday.

"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 statement that Rolling Stone published. "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."

Numerous press outlets have published reports related to sexual harassment allegations against Republic President and The Four co-star Charlie Walk. The source of the story is a blog post by a former Columbia employee who worked for Walk when he was EVP there in 2004. Read the Variety report here.

UMG issued this statement in response: “While it appears this blog post relates to the period prior to Mr. Walk’s appointment to his position at Republic Records, we take the allegations very seriously and intend to conduct a full and complete review of this matter."

Fox also issued a statement. "“We have only recently learned of these past allegations regarding Mr. Walk,” it reads. “We are currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”

Walk denied the accuracy of the charges in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "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."

Will he turn off the Lost Highway onto the I-40? (2/22a)
Hot dang, girl, you're loaded. (2/22a)
Next! (2/21a)
Sunday! (2/22a)
Who cleaned up? (2/21a)
What the Grammys tell us about a changing landscape.
The biz players who are determined to get the volume back up.
Big changes among big acts.
The old pop rules just don't apply.

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