Fox has parted ways “The Four” panelist Charlie Walk following an accusation of sexual harassment by his former employee.
Walk, president of Republic Records Group (who was put on leave by the company today, according to multiple media reports), will not appear in next week’s live finale, though he will still appear in Thursday’s pre-taped episode. The exec issued a statement regarding the decision Wednesday evening:
“Out of respect for the contestants, my fellow judges and everyone involved with the show, I have made the decision not to attend the finale of ‘The Four,'” Walk said. “I do not want my presence to be a distraction. Needless to say this is very upsetting. Although I continue to support the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened. I welcome any investigation so that in short order these unfounded and hurtful accusations can be put to rest.”
The decision comes after the music exec was first accused earlier this week by a woman who said Walk behaved inappropriately while the two worked together at Columbia Records approximately eight years ago.
Tristan Coopersmith, who has since founded the women’s wellness studio Life Lab, wrote in an open letter that in the year she worked for him, Walk made “lewd comments about my body and [shared] fantasies of having sex with me.”
In the letter, titled “#MeToo: An Open Letter to Charlie Walk,” Coopersmith went on to say that the music mogul would send her sexual text messages and touch her inappropriately during business dinners.
“Then there was that event at your swank pad when you actually cornered me and pushed me into your bedroom and onto your bed,” said Coopersmith, who was 27 at the time. “The bed you shared with your wife … your wife who was in the room next door. You being drunk and me being 6 inches taller was my saving grace.”
At the time of the accusation, Fox said it was reviewing the matter and remained “committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”
Walk served as a judge on the singing competition, which premiered earlier this year as Fox’s answer to ABC’s upcoming “American Idol” reboot, alongside Sean Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and host Fergie.