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Ed Sheeran’s label boss Ben Cook resigns

Ben Cook steps down over Run DMC costume

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Ben Cook, an iconic figure in the British music industry, has stepped down as the president of Atlantic Records. Cook gave Ed Sheeran his first contract, playing an instrumental role in the hit-maker’s success. This announcement comes after the executive admitted to causing offence by dressing up as a member of Run DMC at a birthday party seven years ago.

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Cook revealed in a statement that after rumors emerged last year about his appearance at the party, he was the subject of an internal disciplinary process. He clarified that his intention was to “honor a musical hero”  but he recognized the fact that his appearance might have been “offensive”

Cook’s statement read: ‘It is with great sadness that today I announce I am stepping down as President of Atlantic Records, UK. ‘Seven years ago, at a birthday party where guests were asked to come dressed as their favourite musical icon, I came as a member of Run DMC. Late last year rumours began to circulate about my appearance at that event, many of which are simply untrue. While my intention was to honour a musical hero, I recognise my appearance was offensive and I made a terrible mistake.

‘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. Moreover, they have been used against a wonderful company and the label I love. I have therefore come to the conclusion that I should make this statement and step down, with immediate effect.’ He continued: ‘I am 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. I have learned a great deal from this event and will resolutely continue to champion these values moving forward. ‘It has been an incredible privilege to have worked with the immensely talented artists, managers and team at Atlantic and the wider Warner family. ‘I unreservedly apologise to anyone who has been hurt.’

A representative from Warner Music said: ‘Ben Cook is leaving Atlantic UK and this will be his last week in the office.’

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