Denis Handlin has broken his silence over the damning accusations of sexual misconduct within Sony Music’s domestic ranks.
It did happen, he admits. And he tried to stop it.
As the first episode of the Schwartz Media’s new investigative podcast series Everybody Knows goes live, Handlin has provided a statement for the first time since his shock departure from the company in June.
In it, Handlin confirms that the music major had dealt with instances of sexual misconduct in his decades-long run as chief executive, and that “immediate action was taken.”
The statement reads, “I would never tolerate treating women in an inappropriate or discriminatory manner.”
It continues, “At any time I was made aware of this sort of behaviour, I took action to ensure that it was stopped and didn’t occur again.
“Over the years, this included seeing people at all levels and all seniority leave the company. With issues of sexual misconduct, I always took immediate action, in accordance with the law and best practice in the interests of those involved in such traumatic and disturbing events.”
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He adds: “It’s not appropriate for me to say anything further as most of these matters remain confidential to ensure the personal wellbeing of those involved.”
He says he engaged lawyers and external advisers to conduct independent inquiries into the allegations and had also provided counselling to survivors, but the specifics are bound by NDAs.
Handlin abruptly left Sony Music in June after more than 51 years with the company, 37 of those as leader of the Australasian business.
News of his departure was confirmed in an internal email distributed by the company’s New York-based global chairman, Rob Stringer.
The first episode of Everybody Knows explores allegations of misconduct and bullying at Sony Music Australia, and features interviews with The Sydney Morning Herald’s Nathanael Cooper, who has published several reports on misconduct in the music industry, and with former staffers.
One ex-Sony Music employee, named Tamara, shares a string of shocking incidents which occurred during her time with the company.
As a result, she claims to suffer panic attacks when she approaches her former workplace.
“I will genuinely say, working for that company ruined my life and my career,” she explains.
Spanning five-parts, and led by 7am reporter Ruby Jones, Everybody Knows explores the false start for the #MeToo movement in Australia, which she attributes to a culture of secrecy, media failures and archaic laws.
Stream episode 1 here.