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President of Atlantic U.K. steps down over “offensive” Run DMC fancy dress costume

Ben Cook has issued an apology following the results of an internal inquiry.

October 16, 2019
President of Atlantic U.K. steps down over “offensive” Run DMC fancy dress costume Atlantic Records logo  

Ben Cook has resigned from his position as president of Atlantic Records U.K. following disciplinary action over reports he dressed as a member of Run DMC at a 2012 fancy dress party.


The label, to which Cook signed Ed Sheeran and Stormzy, released a statement on his behalf on Wednesday in which Cook acknowledged he had made "a terrible mistake" while attempting to "honor a musical hero" seven years ago.

Cook's statement reads:


“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.

“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.”

The executive was promoted to president of Atlantic U.K. in 2014 following six years as the managing director of label imprint Asylum. During his time at Asylum he helped develop the careers of Charli XCX and U.K. dance act Rudimental.


Parlophone co-president Mark Mitchell will take over from Cook on an interim basis.

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President of Atlantic U.K. steps down over “offensive” Run DMC fancy dress costume