Sony scandal: former employees talk about Denis Handlin
More than 100 employees have shared their stories as part of a major Four Corners investigation into allegations about former chief executive Denis Handlin.
Hundreds of former and current Sony Music employees have spoken out against the company’s alleged âtoxicâ culture under the leadership of former CEO Denis Handlin.
Staff at the multinational conglomerate spoke to Four Corners as part of an investigation into what the CBA has called a culture of “fear and bullying,” “systemic bullying, discrimination and misconduct âduring Mr. Handlin’s 50-year tenure.
The former CEO and chairman of Sony Music Australia abruptly left the company in June when an email from staff said the company was moving in a “new direction.”
This followed an investigation into the workplace culture at Sony after a member of staff in the company’s Sydney office alleged they were bullied and harassed.
There is no suggestion that Mr. Handlin’s departure was related to the allegations.
But four months later, Sony staff broke ranks to detail to Four Corners what they experienced at the company while Mr. Handlin ran the show.
âThe nicest thing I can say about Denis is that he was sort of an equal opportunity abuser,â said Eleanor McKay, who joined Sony in 1986.
“He was as mean to men as he was to women.”
In a statement to the CBA, Mr. Handlin said, âI have always supported and encouraged women in the industry and have personally championed diversity.
âI would never tolerate treating women in an inappropriate or discriminatory manner.
“At all times I was made aware of this kind of behavior, I took steps to make sure it was stopped and was not happening again.”
The Four Corners report included a staff video obtained by the ABC in which Mr. Handlin was disguised as Adolf Hitler for an eight-minute skit.
Ms McKay said Mr Handlin was “volatile”.
âDenis was very volatile, you know? I remember that. And sort of being a little shocked at its intensity. And, back and forth, like, when he was happy … the whole office was, you know, fun and games, and when he wasn’t, it was like, ‘Whoa, he’s on a rampage’, and everything. the world wanted to get out of the way. “
Another staff member who spoke out against Mr Handlin was Alan Terrey, the former CEO’s second in charge.
He told ABC he couldn’t “go to my grave without telling my story.”
Mr. Terrey recalled a time when Mr. Handlin demanded that he fire a receptionist who had worked at the company for 10 years.
“Now I want you to fire her,” Mr. Terrey recalls, telling him Mr. Handlin.
Mr. Terrey alleges that Mr. Handlin told him he wanted a younger woman at the reception.
A nine-page report for Sony’s international president, obtained by the ABC, contained allegations that Mr. Handlin had a drinking habit that left him verbally abusive “when he is drunk” and that Mr. Handlin had staff of Sony “followed by private investigators”.
Mr. Handlin began his career in the mailroom at Sony Music and is the company’s longest-serving employee in the world after joining the organization in 1970. He became CEO of Australian operations in 1984.
His departure, which was effective upon his announcement in June, was announced Monday by Sony Music global boss Rob Stringer in an internal email.
“It’s time to change direction and I will make further announcements regarding the new direction of our operations in Australia and New Zealand in due course,” the note said.
He added: “My team and I will be talking about this process in more detail to your team leaders throughout the week, but at this point I wanted to let everyone know about this news at the same time.”
Mr. Handlin was thanked for his “extraordinary contribution” to the company in the email, where he has served as chairman since 1996.
During his tenure, he led the company into new areas such as video games, music publishing, DVDs, CD manufacturing, television and content creation.
âDenis is renowned for his highly competitive spirit and his defense of local talent. Under his direction, Australian artists such as Men at Work, Midnight Oil, Silverchair, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Tina Arena, Delta Goodrem, Human Nature, Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, The Veronicas, Justice Crew, David Campbell, Amy Shark , Tash Sultana, Gang of Youths and Ruel have achieved international recognition and success, âaccording to his company biography.
In 2005, Mr. Handlin was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of âservice to the music industry, in particular through the promotion of Australian musicians, professional organizations and the community by fundraising for charities â.
An influential figure in the Australian music industry, with numerous awards to his name, he has been married to his wife Jan since 1977 and they have six children together.
Mr. Handlin has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Australian Recording Industry Association since 1984 and Chairman of the Board of ARIA since 2010.
He is also a founding member of the Sony Foundation of Australia, which has raised more than $ 31 million since 1998 for charitable causes focused on young people.