The CEO of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter was pushed out earlier this week after a private internal investigation raised concerns about evidence of sexual harassment and other wrongdoing, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the outcome of the internal investigation.
The probe stemmed from allegations of sexual harassment, and expanded over the past few weeks after an audit was launched looking into other allegations of impropriety by John Amato. Sources said the probe is also examining whether the company adequately addressed complaints by staff of inappropriate behavior by top company officials.
This story is based on interviews with nearly a dozen current and former employees as well as a person familiar with the company’s business who all spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Both Valence Media and Amato declined to comment.
Along with the investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations, the company recently undertook an audit of parts of the 2016 acquisition of SpinMedia for examinations of financial wrongdoing. The outcome of the audit is not known.
Over the past several weeks, concerns have grown among higher-ups at the company about Amato’s past behavior. The Daily Beast reported in May that the exec worked to derail a series of stories at Billboard and Spin about close friend and Republic Records ex-president Charlie Walk’s alleged inappropriate and unwanted advances on younger women.
After the article was published, company brass began to hear stories about Amato’s own past behavior. After initially hiring two separate outside investigators to specifically look into how the Walk stories were killed, parent company Valence brought in an additional separate outside human-resources consultant named Lisa Kaye to investigate Amato’s conduct and the company culture he oversaw.
Beyond potential involvement in financial wrongdoing, investigators have heard complaints from women who alleged that Amato particularly mistreated young female staffers.
(Excerpt) Read more in: The Daily Beast