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Aussie CEO of Sony Music fired after investigation into ‘workplace culture’

The CEO and chairman of Sony Music Australia, Denis Handlin, has been fired amid investigations into company culture.

Sony Music’s global boss, Rob Stringer, announced in a note to staff that Handlin’s departure was effective immediately – prompting renewed calls for #MeToo activation from Aussie artists such as Jaguar Jonze.

“It is time for a change in leadership and I will be making further announcements in terms of the new direction of our business in Australia and New Zealand in due course,” Stringer’s note said.

Sony Music
Image: NME

Stringer also thanked Handlin for his “extraordinary contribution to the company and its artists over his long career in the Australian and New Zealand industry”.

Handlin had been working with Sony for over 50 years, and held the title of the longest-serving employee of Sony Music in the world.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Handlin’s departure comes weeks after Sony Music’s global head of human resources announced an investigation into the workplace culture.

Reports allege that the investigation into the Australian arm of Sony began after complaints from an employee in Sydney were made to Sony’s head of human resources in New York.

On Sunday, reports further revealed that Sony had engaged an external counsel to conduct the investigation, which covered allegations of bullying, harassment, racism and discrimination.

It was also revealed that an anonymous hotline had been set up to take complaints, though the number of people who’ve accessed it remains unknown.

Furthermore, no suggestions have been made yet over Handlin’s involvement in the allegations.

This isn’t the first time that Sony has come under fire for seemingly toxic workplace culture this year.

In April this year, following a weeks-long investigation, Sony’s former executive vice-president of commercial music, Tony Glover, was sacked after he was found to have bullied and harassed several staff members.

At the time, Glover denied any wrongdoing used the flimsy excuse that he had never been disciplined before his dismissal.

“There’s me and there’s the complainants and I guess the amount of complainants outweighed my word,” he said.

“I had never been sanctioned before, [the investigation] was a complete surprise. I think I am a decent person, a loyal person.”

Aussie alt-pop icon and a keystone in Australia’s music #MeToo movement, Jaguar Jonze, took to Instagram today to continue her push for justice in light of Handlin’s high-profile sacking.

In a thread published to Instagram, Jonze featured a personal note calling for accountability in the music industry, as well as updates on industry leaders and fellow musicians with allegations of harassment.

 

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A post shared by Jaguar Jonze (@jaguarjonze)

“TIME IS UP 💔 This has been the laborious and traumatic work of so many courageous people, with so much still left unseen due to our defamation/gag laws,” she wrote.

“We cannot ignore this any longer. It is time for REAL accountability, responsibility, protection and change. ✊”

Jonze has been a major figure in Australia’s #MeToo movement since vocally taking to social media in 2020 to discuss her claims of sexual assault by two high-profile music producers – alongside 300 other women.

“It made me realise that I wasn’t alone and isolated, and it was extremely difficult, and exhausting and traumatic, but I feel like 300 women have come together to be able to make a change,” Jonze told Happy earlier this year.

“Hopefully, in this industry, beyond just it being a little moment of gossip. And also, 300 women are able to feel like they were heard, like they have each other, and that they are actually like, not isolated and alone – which is what I thought I was.”