The CEO of Sony Music became CBE on the New Year’s honor list after the £ 18,000-a-month PR company chased letters about celebrity nominations, including James Corden, can reveal the Daily Mail.
Stunning messages reveal:
- Mr Stringer met with the British Consul General in New York after being told that an official could influence the honor system in his favor;
- TV presenter Nick Owen, magazine editor Dylan Jones and film director Ged Doherty all provided letters of support after being chased by a public relations firm;
- Public relations chief Paul Blanchard tried to teach stars Gavin and Stacey Corden how to compose a letter of support for Sony boss;
- Celebrities, including Jo Whiley and Pharrell Williams, also provided letters of support to Mr. Stringer (but were not contacted by Mr. Blanchard).
Revealed emails reveal behind-the-scenes work done in an attempt to gain knighthood for Rob Stringer (left) – the record boss who signed Adele (center) and One Direction in Columbia before moving to 2017. Sony.
To Mr Blanchard’s company, Right Angles PR, Sony Music paid $ 24,200 (£ 17,700) in monthly stock for PR work and the launch of commercial deals. It started in 2018 and ended in 2020. Both Sony Music and Mr. Stringer says the company or public relations chief did not ask or detain Mr. Blanchard to name him for honor or gather evidence.
Right Angles, a company that was applying for the award at the time, learned that the British phonographic industry had nominated Mr Stringer for the award, and began trying to help by collecting letters of support. Mr Blanchard and a staff member, former diplomat Daniel Rutstein, also intervened in September 2019 in New York at a meeting between Mr Stringer and then-Consul General Antony Phillipson.
In an exchange between PR and Mr Stringer the day before the meeting, Mr Blanchard hinted that Mr Phillipson, one of the top British government officials in the U.S. at the time, was able to influence the award process in his favor.
There is no hint that Mr. Phillipson acted improperly.
How the public relations chief informed Sony supremo before meeting with the diplomat
Mr Blanchard told his party, “Don’t mention honor. The word “K” should never be mentioned – then it has complete denial, just like you. ”The word‘ K ’is understood to refer to chivalry.
Mr Blanchard adds: “He knows that you know that he knows, and I suspect that he also knows that you know that he knows that you actually know that he knows.”
In another message, Mr Stringer was told: “This man is a key piece of the puzzle for our – um – secret project … because he will be the one to give a ‘nod’. Think of him as a man from Del Monte. Aside from the fact that he already likes you, he is grateful for your help and wants to say yes. And I really think they will understand each other and become friends. What we want. ‘
Mr Stringer replies to Mr Blanchard and Mr Rutstein: “I will not disappoint you both.”
A source at the Foreign Ministry said the honor system was not discussed during the meeting nor was it ever hinted that Mr. Phillipson had any influence on the process.
A spokesman said: “In all cases, nominations for excellence are subject to rigorous scrutiny and fairness testing to assess justification. Any suggestion that UK officials have improperly influenced this nomination is completely unfounded.
“Robert Stringer received the CBE in recognition of his outstanding and lasting contribution to the British music business and to charity and anti-discrimination.”
Owen, who has known Mr Stringer for decades after their joint work at Luton Town FC, where he is the record director, said he was first contacted by Mr Stringer’s wife Julia to support the role. He added: ‘He’s a good friend and a very respected man, so of course I made him.’
Public relations chief Paul Blanchard (left) tried to teach stars Gavin and Stacey Corden how to write a letter of support for Sony boss (right)
Corden also told Mr Blanchard that he would be happy to send a letter, but he did not write it.
In July 2020, the Mail revealed that Mr Blanchard’s company boasted that it could get a dam for author Barbara Taylor Bradford in exchange for £ 80,000.
The source said Mr Stringer would almost certainly have been awarded the CBE without Mr Blanchard’s interference, and it was a pity that the merger would tarnish his reputation. The revelations reveal a shocking insight into the honor system and how individuals are trying to manipulate the application process.
Labor MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the Standards Committee, said the practice of private specialty companies trying to honor their clients should be illegal.
Mr Blanchard said his former client had done nothing wrong and fully deserved the CBE. “It is important to note the intentions of those who disclosed my stolen emails to you, as my kind emails to Mr. Stringer, sent in a good mood, can look horrible if they are out of context,” he added.
“At no point did I receive any instructions to give Rob the honor while working for Sony Music. It was simply my in-house project that I proactively took on as I wanted to recognize the positive difference that Rob made it to the community, I owe him [Mr Stringer] a very deep apology. ‘
A source at Sony Music said the company had not worked with Mr Blanchard for more than 18 months and that Mr Stringer had met with successive consuls general in New York for years.