Ben Cook has stepped down as president of Atlantic Records UK following a controversial Run-D.M.C. costume he wore to an event. As the BBC reports, Cook admitted to wearing the “offensive” costume nearly seven years ago, stating that “while my intention was to honor a musical hero, I recognize my appearance was offensive and I made a terrible mistake.”
Cook furthered his thoughts on the controversy:
…at a birthday party where guests were asking to come dress as their favorite musical icon, I came as a member of Run DMC…Late last year rumors began to circulate about my appearance at that event, many of which are simply untrue. As a consequence of this, I readily agreed to disciplinary actions by my employer last year. Since then however, allegations surrounding the party have continued to be made against me. I have therefore come to the conclusion that I should make this statement and step down, with immediate effect.
Atlantic Record’s parent company, Warner Music, equally issued the following statement: “Ben Cook is leaving Atlantic UK and this will be his last week in the office.” The company noted that Mark Mitchell, co-president of Parlophone will lead the label on an interim basis.
Cook remained “devastated that this mistake has caused upset and has called into question my commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, values which I have championed throughout my career,” further noting that he had “learned a great deal” from the controversial issue, further apologizing “to anyone who has been hurt.” Cook’s seven-year stint as the president of the label’s UK division saw relatively steady growth for the label. Much of this is thanks to Cook’s signing of now-global sensation Ed Sheeran, as well as his work with Stormzy, Charli XCX, and more.
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