The ABC will air a special edition of its current affairs programme Four Corners, said to uncover “the inside story” of Sony Music Australia – where, per a statement issued by the broadcaster, “fear and intimidation stalked the corridors for decades”.
The special, reported by Grace Tobin and titled Four Corners: Face The Music, will air at 8:30pm AEDT on Monday October 11. It will primarily focus on allegations of inappropriate conduct at the company under the helm of former CEO Denis Handlin, who was ousted from Sony back in June.
Take a look at a short trailer for the special – which features a clip of Handlin wearing a Nazi uniform – below:
Alongside the special’s announcement came a series of anonymous quotes from former employees of Sony Music Australia, with one person – who reportedly worked with the label in the 1990s – alleging: “I felt targeted, I felt manipulated, and I certainly felt abused. There’s only so much you can put up with.”
“It’s always been a massive story that has been waiting to come out, and could never come out while Denis was still at the helm, because people were so scared,” said another employee, who reportedly worked in a senior role throughout the 2000s.
Handlin served at Sony Music Australia for over 50 years, and was named CEO in 1984. His departure was announced in an email sent to Sony employees, wherein Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer reportedly said it was “time for a change in leadership”, with “further announcements in terms of the new direction of [Sony’s] business in Australia and New Zealand” to be made “in due course”.
As a result of his dismissal from Sony, Handlin was removed from his role as chairman on the ARIA board, where he had been a board member since 1984. Natalie Waller replaced Handlin as the ARIA’s first female chair.
September saw Handlin give his first public statement on the scandal, acknowledging that “issues of sexual misconduct” had occurred during his time heading the label (no allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment have been levelled at Handlin himself).
“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,” he said during an appearance on the podcast Everybody Knows.
In the weeks following Handlin’s dismissal from Sony Music Australia, it was reported that two more senior executives – Handlin’s son Pat (Vice President of A&R) and Mark Stebnicki (Senior Vice President of Strategy, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources) – had exited the company.
Earlier this year, senior executive Tony Glover was fired following an investigation into Sony Music Australia that uncovered allegations he had bullied and harassed his colleagues. Glover, who was the label’s vice-president of commercial music, denied the allegations.