Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • And the winner is...

  • ..Tina Arena!

  • (CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

  • I would like to thank, once again, Sony Music, Denis Handlin...

  • To my wonderful record company,

  • Denis Handlin for signing me when I was 15 years old...

  • I have to thank my team at Sony Music,

  • led by, of course, Denis Handlin...

  • ALICIA KEYS: The ARIA goes to...

  • ..Jessica Mauboy!

  • (CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

  • To Denis Handlin, thank you for letting me be me.

  • TAMARA GEORGOPOULOS: He is known as one of the most powerful men

  • in the music industry.

  • Denis Handlin and my incredible crew at Sony,

  • I wouldn't have a career without you.

  • I think a lot of people feel fear when they hear that name.

  • GRACE TOBIN: It's the music industry's worst-kept secret,

  • a company ruled by fear and intimidation.

  • This is the inside story of Sony Music Australia

  • under the reign of its long-time CEO, Denis Handlin.

  • GREG LOCKHART: The legend of Denis has lived on for a long time

  • and everybody is aware of it.

  • This is not a secret.

  • You seem reluctant to say Denis Handlin's name. Is there...

  • Can I just have a moment? Sorry.

  • It's always been a massive story

  • that has been waiting to come out,

  • and it could never come out while Denis was still at the helm

  • because people were so scared.

  • There was a sense that he was untouchable.

  • Allegations of systemic bullying.

  • SHANE EARLE: I felt targeted, I felt manipulated

  • and I certainly felt abused.

  • So...

  • (SIGHS) Yeah...

  • ..there's only so much you can put up with.

  • A culture where discrimination and sexual misconduct

  • were allowed to thrive.

  • TAMARA GEORGOPOULOS: I was sexually harassed when I worked at Sony.

  • I've had friends sexually assaulted.

  • It's just the norm.

  • For the first time, these are the voices Sony Music tried to silence.

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: I used to say

  • that the kindest thing I could say about Denis

  • was that he was sort of an equal-opportunity abuser,

  • you know, he was as mean to men as he was to women.

  • GREG LOCKHART: The neglect of corporate governance on this issue

  • is staggering.

  • It's disgusting how they've supported one human being,

  • setting aside everybody else in the company.

  • ALAN TERREY: I couldn't go to my grave, in all honesty,

  • without telling the story.

  • Tonight on Four Corners

  • we investigate decades of abuse and misconduct at Sony Music Australia,

  • one of the country's largest record labels.

  • We expose the toxic regime of its infamous former CEO, Denis Handlin,

  • and how the company's global head office

  • failed to protect its Australian staff for almost 40 years.

  • (PAPARAZZI CLAMOUR)

  • (SPEAKS INAUDIBLY)

  • (CHEERING)

  • At annual award ceremonies around the world,

  • Sony Music's success is on show.

  • MAN: (YELLS) Miley! Miley!

  • Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle! (CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICK)

  • IRENE SAUNDERS: Lots of high-selling artists, high-profile artists,

  • basically all the household names.

  • WOMAN: (YELLS) Congratulations, Tina!

  • (CHEERING)

  • In Australia,

  • the company has launched and fostered some of our biggest acts.

  • But the man behind these record deals

  • was even more formidable than the stars themselves.

  • IRENE SAUNDERS: He was a machine,

  • a complete phenomenon.

  • Because I don't think anywhere else in the world you'd have...

  • ..a CEO of a music company with that much power,

  • but somehow he built it.

  • As Sony's Chief Executive of 37 years,

  • Chairman of the ARIA board and an Officer of the Order of Australia,

  • Denis Handlin dominated the music business

  • until four months ago.

  • ARCHIVE REPORTER: One of Australian music's most powerful men

  • has been unceremoniously ousted today...

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: I was stunned, actually.

  • I thought he had operated with such impunity for so long,

  • I just couldn't believe

  • that...it had actually happened.

  • His sacking came as a bombshell,

  • but the global music juggernaut had known of his behaviour for decades

  • and failed to stop him.

  • ALAN TERREY: I think the thing that has upset most of us

  • was that New York said, "Oh, we've just found out about this problem,

  • "this has just come to light."

  • And we know that that's such a load of hogwash.

  • That myth has to be challenged.

  • GREG LOCKHART: For them to just say, "Oh, we found out about it

  • "a month ago or two months ago,"

  • it's just implausible.

  • And it's embarrassing and it's insulting

  • to everyone that's worked there

  • and copped this abuse for all those years.

  • The neglect of corporate governance on this issue from New York

  • is staggering.

  • Staggering.

  • (TRAFFIC ZOOMS)

  • (ROCK MUSIC PLAYS)

  • It was the 1970s, an era of disco and rock'n'roll,

  • when Denis Handlin began his career with Sony Music in the mailroom.

  • His ambition was unstoppable

  • and he quickly worked his way up into management.

  • CATHIE HANNAN: He was a personality, for sure,

  • because he was alive and unpredictable.

  • In fact, his mantra was, "You can sleep when you're dead."

  • Cathie Hannan worked with Denis Handlin in 1979

  • when the company was still CBS Records

  • and he was the National Promotions Manager.

  • CATHIE HANNAN: When I first met him,

  • I thought he was just overly enthusiastic.

  • But, after a while, I realised that he would do anything at any cost

  • to get his product onto the top-100 charts.

  • And he was quite erratic and unpredictable

  • in his commands and his demands of staff.

  • Cathie loved the music business

  • but was appalled by the demands of Handlin.

  • She recalls an occasion where he hired a model for a topless promotion

  • at a local radio station.

  • CATHIE HANNAN: And she was to flash her chest

  • with 'I Want You To Want Me', the Cheap Trick single,

  • written in lipstick on her chest.

  • When the model didn't turn up, Handlin told Cathie SHE had to do it.

  • I was totally shocked. And there's absolutely no way I would do that.

  • I mean, for goodness' sake.

  • You're trying to keep your credibility in that industry,

  • so I refused.

  • I was later called back and told by Denis to come into the office,

  • and he banged on the desk and said, "You don't know how to do your job.

  • "I want your resignation in the morning."

  • So, I went home crying.

  • And in 1979 there was no recourse,

  • so I wrote up my resignation, delivered it the next day

  • and I left the next day.

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: Denis was very volatile, you know? I remember that.

  • And sort of being a bit shocked by how intense he was.

  • And, in both ways, like...

  • When he was happy,

  • you know, it was...the whole office was, you know, fun and games,

  • and when he was not, it was like, "Whoa, he's on the rampage,"

  • and everybody wanted to get out of the way.

  • As a secretary working under Handlin in 1985,

  • Eleanor McKay says he had an aggressive,

  • win-at-all-costs mentality.

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: He was hyper competitive,

  • he liked to win,

  • he didn't brook any opposition.

  • He was definitely of the 'if you weren't for him,

  • 'you were against him',

  • and that was it, you know?

  • And, I remember, you know,

  • I don't know if I can swear, but I remember in the sales meetings

  • he'd get everyone to chant, you know, "Fuck EMI! Fuck Warners!"

  • You know, and, like...

  • So, it wasn't enough to go, "We're great, we're the best."

  • It's like, "Everybody else is shit."

  • You know, and that was kind of his approach.

  • (POP MUSIC PLAYS)

  • Handlin was a big drinker who liked to be the life of the party,

  • and he expected his team to follow his lead.

  • CBS, rock'n'roll heaven!

  • I'm sick of working till way past 11:00!

  • He was proud of his ruthless management style.

  • Budget's flowing! What're you gonna do when the taxman comes...

  • In a staff video obtained by Four Corners,

  • Handlin is seen dressed up as Hitler...

  • We all sleep better when we fuck EMI!

  • ..in a parody of a Mel Brooks song.

  • Grab a chick!

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: I think, in an industry that tolerates...

  • Grab a beer! ..bad behaviour,

  • he was a star performer.

  • Said to myself...

  • .."Let's get the fuck out of here!"

  • So, it kind of says something about it,

  • when you actually shock people in music,

  • you're behaving pretty badly.

  • Alan Terrey was Denis Handlin's 2IC.

  • He's never before broken ranks with Sony Music.

  • ALAN TERREY: To me,

  • not to have done this interview would have been unconscionable

  • knowing what I know.

  • That's a big statement.

  • I couldn't go to my grave, in all honesty,

  • without telling the story.

  • As the Chief Financial Officer

  • throughout the '80s and most of the '90s,

  • Alan worked more closely with Handlin

  • than just about anyone else in the company.

  • ALAN TERREY: Initially I thought

  • we had a really, really good working relationship.

  • And we went on so many overseas trips together,

  • business trips together,

  • a lot of them were very enjoyable, a lot of them were very rewarding.

  • But his abuses later on became more and more hurtful.

  • What were the first signs of trouble?

  • Well, very early on, um...

  • ..Denis called me into his office one morning and said,

  • "Alan, the receptionist now reports to you directly."

  • And I said, "Fine. OK."

  • He said, "Now, I want you to fire her."

  • I said, "She's been our receptionist for 10 years."

  • He said, "No, no, I want a younger, more attractive,

  • "sexier-looking person at the front desk

  • "to be the initial contact of the company."

  • So, that receptionist, after 10 years' service, was fired.

  • For Alan, it was a disturbing insight

  • into Handlin's obsession with control.

  • ALAN TERREY: Denis got consumed by power. No question about it.

  • It was his company. It was his train set.

  • And anyone below him, including myself as 2IC,

  • were basically puppets and he pulled all the strings.

  • And he demanded his actions to be followed,

  • and we, like puppeteers, were just pulled from side to side.

  • Under Handlin's regime,

  • Alan Terrey says he and other executives

  • were singled out and humiliated.

  • His day-to-day dealings with people

  • were pretty much at the executive level,

  • so they're the people

  • who really copped the abuse and the toxic behaviour.

  • Occasionally, he would bring some lower minion into a board meeting

  • and absolutely destroy them in front of his superior.

  • But it was meted out to everybody, nobody escaped.

  • ELEANOR MCKAY: The thing that really struck me

  • was he would sort of do really demeaning things.

  • Like, I remember, you know, there was one incident

  • where he dropped all the papers from his briefcase

  • and he made my boss, you know, get down and pick up all the papers.

  • And it wasn't just that they offered to do it,

  • like, he told them, "Pick that up!"

  • I used to say that the kindest thing I could say about Denis

  • was that he was sort of an equal-opportunity abuser,

  • you know, he was as mean to men as he was to women.

  • GREG LOCKHART: He was extremely controlling, manipulative

  • and he had a management philosophy

  • that 'If it wasn't broken, break it.'

  • Greg Lockhart was the keeper of secrets at Sony for 14 years.

  • As the head of Human Resources from 1987,

  • it was his job to clean up and cover up Denis Handlin's abuses.

  • GREG LOCKHART: I'd come into work of a day

  • and there would be someone every day

  • that I would have to put back together again

  • from some drama that Denis had created

  • the night before or the day before,