Sacked Sony Music Boss Denis Handlin Deprived of Honorary Award Following Allegations of Toxic Work | australian music


Sacked Sony Music Australia boss Denis Handlin has been deprived of an honorary music award following allegations of a toxic work environment while he was managing director.

In response to a report from ABC Four Corners on Monday, the Queensland Music Awards announced that Handlin’s 2020 Honorary Award for service to the Australian music industry has been revoked.

“Culture at Sony Music Australia during Denis Handlin’s tenure [has come] at a significant human cost, ”said the QMusic press release, authorized by its president, Natalie Strijland, and chief executive, Kris Stewart.

“We cannot let the recognition and celebration of QMusic [Handlin’s] career stand. Toxic workplaces, whether in the office, in the boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music.

Guardian Australia has requested comments from Handlin and its legal representatives on the award decision, but has received no response. In response to an earlier approach for comment, a lawyer acting for Handlin confirmed that a letter of complaint was sent to the CBA after the Four Corners report.

The program followed an earlier Guardian Australia investigation into complaints from former Sony Australia employees about a toxic work culture, including allegations of bullying, bullying and alcohol abuse, published on June 21 , the day Handlin was fired from Sony’s world headquarters in New York.

Acting on Handlin’s behalf, Sydney attorney John Churchill confirmed that a formal complaint had been filed with the CBA, but declined to provide details of the complaint. An ABC spokesperson declined to comment.

Handlin, who was the world’s longest-serving record company until his departure, served as managing director of Australia’s most successful record company for 37 years and had been its chairman since 1996.

In 2017, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. Handlin is also the 2014 recipient of the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Icon Award, an award he actively lobbied for presentation in 2013 to Aria’s Board of Directors, of which he later became Chairman. .

The Guardian understands that another public recognition honoring the man once described as one of the most powerful people in the Australian music industry may now be under a cloud. In 2009, Australia’s performing rights and copyright agency Apra Amcos awarded Handlin the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Service to Australian Music.

On Tuesday, Apra Amcos released a statement describing the ABC Four Corners report as “a distressing and disheartening viewing.”

“We are currently undertaking a review of our sexual harassment and harm prevention framework to ensure that all parties involved in APRA AMCOS – including award winners – respect each other, act in a legal, safe and responsible manner,” the communicated. “Allegations such as those made at Four Corners last night are being seriously considered as part of this review.”

None of the former Sony employees Guardian Australia spoke to as part of its investigation made any allegations of sexual harassment against Handlin himself, despite having criticized the workplace culture in it. company while he was managing director.

In response to the Guardian’s investigation, Sony Music Entertainment in New York issued the following statement in June: “We take all allegations made by our employees very seriously and are vigorously investigating them. These allegations have only recently come to light and we are promptly investigating them.

“Harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behavior is not tolerated by Sony Music in any of our companies and we are committed to ensuring a safe and respectful workplace for our employees. In view of our ongoing investigations, we cannot comment further. “


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