At the end of March, Republic Records president Charlie Walk stepped down from his position (as well as from his hosting gig on the singing competition The Four) amid allegations of sexual misconduct. On Friday, the Daily Beast reported that Walk may have received editorial protection from the president of Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, John Amato. Amato runs the company overseeing publication of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Spin, Stereogum, and Vibe. Based on “conversations with a half-dozen high-level sources who spoke with the Daily Beast on condition of anonymity,” the site reports that Amato, who is friends with Walk, shelved at least three stories about the former record executive’s conduct at the publications under his purview.
The Walk story first broke when a former employee published an open letter online detailing accusations against him. Shortly after, Rolling Stone published an investigative report on a “long pattern of harassment and misconduct” by the former head of Republic. Since that time, Amato has allegedly made the rare move of intervening in the editorial process to stop multiple stories with new, original reporting on Walk from running at Spin and Billboard. This was apparently done against the objections of staffers, and despite the stories having been cleared by in-house legal teams. In one instance, an aggregated news post about Walk was also apparently removed from Billboard’s site, without explanation, several days after it was published. Amato’s “closeness with Walk has been well-known among staff for years,” according to Daily Beast sources, but he never disclosed that relationship when reviewing articles about Walk.
A spokesperson for the media group provided this statement to the Daily Beast when asked for comment: “As a media publisher, we do not comment on the details of editorial decisions. We covered this story thoroughly, publishing 23 reports in less than two months across Billboard, Spin, and Hollywood Reporter.”