NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, under fire for perceived inaction on certain NBC News activities, also protected a male employee who sexually harassed multiple women while he was in charge at Sony BMG Music Entertainment in 2004, according to a published report.
The Daily Beast today published a story largely quoting anonymous sources that made the allegations against Lack, who has been criticized for how incidents at NBC News have been handled, including the incidents that drove former Today show anchor Matt Lauer from the company and the stifling of Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein.
According to the Daily Beast story, Lack was chairman and CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment when executive Charlie Walk allegedly sent sexual messages to female employees using company email. The emails reportedly included graphic pornography, according to the sources cited.
Lack was told of the matter, but repeatedly declined to address Walk’s conduct. “I kept telling him: ‘You must do something about this. It’s imperative,’” one of the executives quoted in the story said. “Andy would turn a blind eye to making difficult decisions.”
The Walk situation was allegedly discovered when New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was investigating Sony over reported payola to radio stations. The Walk emails were found among those turned over in discovery during that investigation.
The Daily Beast story quotes Tristan Coopersmith, a former research director who worked at Columbia Records, and promotions assistant Joy Camacho as among those receiving explicit messages.
“The porn was nasty stuff. It was very graphic and totally inappropriate to send on company email, especially to women,” one former executive said to the Daily Beast.
Walk did not talk to the Daily Beast when asked for comment on the matter.
An NBC spokesperson said that “Lack had no knowledge of any allegations against Charlie Walk in the six years he was at Sony. If he did, he would have acted within minutes.”
In December 2005, Sony shuffled management at its record labels and Walk was promoted to president of its Epic Records division, which he ran until 2008. He then headed to Universal’s Republic Records. He also appeared as a judge on the Fox reality series The Four: Battle for Stardom. Sexual misconduct allegations were raised on Jan. 29 of this year, causing him to withdraw as a judge on the TV show. In March 2018, after a scathing Rolling Stone story in February, Walk and Universal agreed to mutually part ways.
After overseeing the merger with BMG, Sony’s board unseated Lack in 2008.
NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke told The Daily Beast in a statement that Lack “has my complete support. We have worked together closely for over three years during which I have watched him oversee NBC News with great integrity, sound judgment and a focus on doing what’s right. I look forward to continuing to work with Andy and to his continued success as the leader of NBC News.”