Paper Names Sony Execs In Pay-for-Play Report
December 5, 2005 at 2:36 PM (PT)
Two SONY BMG executives are denying allegations of payola-related conduct that appeared in NEW YORK Attorney General ELIOT SPITZER's settlement with the label and to which their names have now been attached by a newspaper report.
The report in SUNDAY's LOS ANGELES TIMES names SONY MUSIC LABEL GROUP CEO DON IENNER and newly-named EPIC RECORDS Pres. CHARLIE WALK (see NET NEWS 12/2) as the two SONY senior execs referred to as having "tolerated and facilitated" payola in the settlement report released in JULY. At the time, the label agreed to pay $10 million in the settlement, but the report stopped short of naming the names of the executives he believed had knowledge of the activities.
The TIMES report attaches the names of WALK, then COLUMBIA's EVP/Promotion & Marketing, and IENNER to the report that indicates unnamed executives at SONY had knowledge that employees below them engaged in pay-for-play and were sometimes directly involved in the practice. The report refers to titles but did not refer to specific names.
Responding to the allegations, IENNER's attorney, JOHN ROSENBERG, said in a statement: "MR. IENNER emphatically and categorically denies that he engaged in any unlawful or improper conduct. It is troubling in the extreme that unnamed individuals, who are too cowardly to publicly stand behind their baseless allegations, believe it appropriate to attack MR. IENNER's reputation. That they are willing to do so speaks volumes about their true motivation and their utter lack of credibility."
TONY ANDERSON, a former colleague of IENNER's at ARISTA in the '80s and at COLUMBIA in the mid-'90s, echoed ROSENBERG's statement, telling the TIMES that payola "is the kind of thing that DON was not a fan of nor supportive of ... when people would discuss improper practices, I'd hear him say, 'You must be out of your mind. We're not doing those kinds of things.'"
To read THE TIMES' full report, click here.