Entertainment

Ex-Sony boss ‘ruined’ Amy Shark’s ARIAs

The story came to light after Mr Handlin was let go from Sony Music Australia earlier this week after more than 50 years with the company.Three sources told The Australian about the incident which allegedly took place at the 2018 ARIAs where Shark won four awards.The Everybody Rise singer thanked Mr Handlin in her first two acceptance speeches, but forgot to mention him while accepting the big award of the night, Album of the Year.“I really, really wanted this,” Shark said through tears during her speech. “Not just for me but for my whole team, because there has been so much that’s gone into this and everyone has just believed in me and just let me go away and write an album, which is dangerous, but they let me do it.”Shark went on to pay tribute to her husband Shane Billings, Wonderlick Entertainment’s Stu MacQueen, her producers, Mushroom Records’ Michael Gudinski, commercial radio stations and her fans.But she accidentally forgot to thank Mr Handlin, the head of her record label at the time, who was watching from the second row.Mr Handlin didn’t react well to the accidental snub, sources told The Australian. Before he stormed out, it’s claimed he told fellow Sony employees that Shark had to refilm her acceptance speech for TV audiences (which never happened).Mr Handlin also allegedly told the staffers they had to tell Shark that she had failed to thank him during the acceptance speech.“She was upset because she respected him greatly,” a source told The Australian about Shark’s reaction to her accidental omission. “She was upset because she felt like she’d let him down.”Shark and Mr Handlin were seen chatting later that night at an ARIAs afterparty, and the next morning she apologised to Mr Handlin in person in the Sony Music Australia boardroom.“I couldn’t believe she was doing that, either of her own volition or of his, I don’t know. But it was awful,” a source said about her boardroom appearance. “She just had the biggest night of her life, and I don’t think there was anyone in that room with a conscience who didn’t feel bad for her.”The incident put a damper on what was otherwise a huge night for the Australian singer.“It was such a moment for her,” a source said. “From my perception, I felt he (Mr Handlin) just ruined what might still be the biggest night of her career. She’d worked away for 10 years to get to that point, and it was really unpleasant.”Two days after the ARIAs, Shark paid tribute to Mr Handlin on Twitter. She posted a photo of them together with the caption: “I tried for years to convince a record label to sign me. Finally wore them down! We have now won 6 Arias in 2 years! @SonyMusicAU and @WonderlickEnt I love you so much and thank you Denis Handlin for believing in me.”The Australian reached out to Amy Shark, Denis Handlin and Sony Music Australia but all declined to comment.Mr Handlin’s shock departure from Sony was announced to staff in an email sent out on Monday, with reference to the company going in a “new direction”.It came amid an investigation into the workplace culture at Sony Music Australia after claims of bullying and harassment.An Australian-based external counsel has been appointed to investigate the claims.

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