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THE N.Y. TIMES FINDS DEEP-SEATED PROBLEMS AT BILLBOARD

The New York Times has published an expose on Billboard’s seemingly toxic office culture. The paper's probe was triggered by the allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments leveled at the trade’s top exec, John Amato, who was forced out three weeks ago.

An internal investigation further uncovered employee complaints against two of Amato’s top lieutenants, one for mistreatment of employees and the other for inappropriate behavior around business clients, according to The Times.

In researching the story, Times media reporter Ben Sisario interviewed 15 current or former employees who spoke about the culture at Billboard.

“In interviews,” Sisario writes, “five current or former employees described an environment in which corporate meddling in editorial decisions was not limited to the coverage of [Charlie] Walk,” whom Amato was allegedly protecting, initiating the internal probe.

“On the business side of the publication, junior employees—most of them women—filed human resources complaints about inappropriate comments and bullying behavior by executives, according to four former employees and correspondence with a human resources officer reviewed by The New York Times.”

Sisario further reports that parent company Valence “also paid to settle a past harassment allegation against Mr. Amato, according to two people with direct knowledge of the agreement who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a previously undisclosed matter. The people said they did not know the amount of the payment or the exact nature of the allegation.”

“They’ve become more the People magazine of the industry instead of the bible of the industry,” said manager Allen Kovac.

Janice Min, who was co-President and Editor of BB/THR while Amato held the titles of co-President and Publisher, was primarily responsible for the extreme makeover that transformed the music trade of record into a fashion and gossip rag, a dumbing down that Amato and his team perpetuated.

Insiders say Valence’s deeply concerned co-CEO Modi Wiczyk was overheard saying, “Get me Irving,” during a staff meeting on the alarming situation.  

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