In a new interview, former Sony Music Australia executive Tony Glover has said he was made a “scapegoat” when he was dismissed from the label in April following allegations of bullying and harassment.
Glover, who was most recently Sony’s vice president of commercial music, was fired in April following a weeks-long investigation that uncovered allegations he had bullied and harassed Sony staff. Glover denied the allegations at the time.
“Upon receiving complaints of alleged inappropriate behaviour, a Senior Counsel was immediately engaged to independently investigate the allegations,” a Sony Music Australia spokesperson told NME back in April.
“Following completion of the investigation, the company acted on the findings. Sony Music Australia can confirm that Tony Glover has been dismissed with immediate effect.”
Glover was interviewed on last night’s episode of Four Corners, which investigated the company under the direction of recently ousted CEO Handlin. Speaking to reporter Grace Tobin, Glover said he thinks he was made a “scapegoat” when pressure began to mount for the company to take action against Handlin’s alleged misconduct.
“I think that the thinking was, ‘The heat’s coming, we need to do something about this. What’s the best way to deal with it? Let’s take out a senior exec,'” Glover told Four Corners. “Nothing to see here, move on.”
While Glover initially denied the allegations in April, he now said he could not recall the alleged incidents because it’s possible he was drunk at the time.
“There was a drinking culture at Sony Music,” he said. “But I never thought of myself as a person that would be touching inappropriately.
“If that were the case and someone feels that that happened to them, I certainly apologise unreservedly for making anyone feel uncomfortable at any time.”
When told by Tobin he was sometimes avoided at parties and work functions because he was alleged to be a “compulsive groper”, Glover said: “That shocks me.” He also claimed he was never reprimanded over complaints of sexual harassment or bullying in the lead-up to his dismissal.
“I just don’t think I’m that person,” Glover said.
“I have to be careful what I say because I’m not going to win here, but there’s obviously a few people who want to get things off their chest. And maybe I’m some collateral damage along the way.”
The ABC interviewed more than 100 current and former Sony staff for the Four Corners exposé, which aired explosive claims of a culture of bullying, discrimination and misconduct at the label under Handlin. The longtime CEO was dismissed by the label’s global headquarters in New York in June.
The Four Corners investigation also aired allegations of sexual harassment, a “laddish” culture at the company, and discrimination against female employees who became pregnant while working for Sony.
In a statement to Four Corners, Handlin wrote: “I have always provided support and encouragement to women in the industry and personally championed diversity”.
“I would never tolerate treating women in an inappropriate or discriminatory manner,” he said. “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.”
In a statement shared by Four Corners, a spokesperson from Sony Music Entertainment said: “We take all allegations of bullying, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour from our employees very seriously and investigate them vigorously.
“Only recently did claims surface and we are examining them expeditiously.”