Universal Music Australia has announced a workplace culture investigation following inappropriate behaviour within the company.
The independent investigation was revealed by Nathanael Cooper earlier this week in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the article, the record label is the second of its kind to launch an investigation into inappropriate behaviour within its Australian office.
Universal Music is officially the biggest record label in the world, and has been responsible for launching the careers of artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Rihanna, as well as Australian acts like Troye Sivan and Tame Impala.
The investigation was initiated after an internal complaint was made with the label’s human resources department.
Lawyer Darren Perry from the Seyfarth Shaw firm has been called on to lead the investigation.
After the clean-out at Sony Music Australia and now the investigation into ‘culture’ at Universal Music Australia (and whatever else comes next), I’m hoping to see a less predatory, less creepy, less victimising version of the Australian music scene starting to emerge.
— James North (@James_North) August 9, 2021
Universal staff were informed of the plans for an investigation via an internal email sent last Friday, where president George Ash told staff that was aware of the online publications surrounding the controversy.
Allegations have also included incidents with his involvement.
In the email, Ash wrote the following:
“As the leader of this company I take full responsibility for creating a respectful workplace culture for everyone.”
“With respect to my own behaviour, it is particularly painful to realise now that what I intended as jokes were unacceptable comments that made some of you uncomfortable.”
yes the entire industry is bad. if you go online ever this shouldn’t be news but it is. the workplace culture at blizzard, ubisoft and valve is copied everywhere ( any american sony studio are the same)
— samantha 🏳️⚧️ (@electrotriple11) July 31, 2021
As mentioned, it is the second time now that a major national label record label has stirred controversy like this.
Only in June this year, Sony Music Australia made headlines following allegations of bullying, harassment and assault within the company.
Their longstanding CEO Denis Handlin was famously let go that month, followed by an additional two executives after reporting from The Guardian exposed a toxic workplace culture.
Ash continued his thoughts on the Universal case:
“Before these issues were raised I thought we were doing an amazing job, but with these things being raised I need to make sure I respond to them.”
“If there is any positive to come of this, it creates that catalyst for us to speak openly about things and hopefully address things to create a workplace culture that people can be proud of.”
We hope so, buddy. We hope so.