A former employee of R&S Records is suing the record label for racial discrimination and unlawful dismissal.
Raj Chaudhuri, aka DJ/promoter/broadcaster/A&R Raji Rags, has filed a case with the UK employment tribunal against R&S Records and its CEO/cofounder Renaat Vandepapeliere.
Chaudhuri has also claimed many instances of “discrimination, harassment, victimisation and post-employment victimisation“, and has provided evidence for many of his claims with screenshots of emails or txt messages from conversations with Vandepapeliere.
R&S Records has refuted the allegations, and stated that “there is simply no truth in anything [Chaudhuri] says.”
Sabine Maes who is R&S co-founder and the wife of Renaat Vandepapeliere, said in a statement that “Mr Renaat Vandepapeliere is certainly not racist and everyone at R&S Records embraces equality.”
Elsewhere in her statement about Chaudhuri, she claims he is a “freelancer who became disgruntled“, and then goes on to accuses him of “blackmail” after trying to recoup £10,000 in losses after what he claims is unfair dismissal from his post at the label.
Chaudhuri had been working as an A&R for R&S Records on a freelance basis between May 2019 and September 2020. He had been on a monthly retainer before agreeing to a one-year deal in July 2020.
Emails put forward in Chaudhuri’s case detail that he and Vandepapeliere had agreed on a one-year fee deal of £1000 per month, plus a share of the profits from seven records released in that time period.
Chaudhuri has said that he requested a formal written contract for the deal, but that was never received with Vandepapeliere allegedly stating that “you got my mail” and that he is “a man of his word“.
Chaudhuri’s dismissal happened after an ancient in September where one of the R&S Artists, Eddington Again (who is a person of color), shared screenshots of emails from Vandepapeliere that made racist reference to “a full pure breed black artist”.
After the screenshots went viral, Vandepapeliere refused to apologise for the remark in an internally sent emails addressed to R&S employees.
This prompted Chaudhuri to suggest that Vandepapeliere “step down” from his “responsibilities” and work “creatively behind the scenes.” Vandepapeliere responded by saying that Chaudhuri had “crossed the line” and that “R&S goes my way.” The next day (29th of September), Chaudhuri claims that he was dismissed from his position at R&S Records with immediate effect.
Chaudhuri wrote to Vandepapeliere asking to be paid the money he felt he was owed from the remainder of the deal the two had made, but only £1000 was transferred to Chaudhuri.
The employment tribunal linked to these claims has been filed in London, but papers have not yet been served on R&S, and a date for the tribunal hearing is pending.
In a statement, Vandepapeliere has previously said “R&S is by no means an organisation where bigotry has a place… We are deeply convinced of the urgency of racial equality, non-discrimination and a sensitive and respectful discourse“.
A statement from R&S said: “We have no intention of litigating this in the press and have every confidence that justice will prevail.”
Chaudhuri said: “The music industry must become free of racial and gender discrimination and the fightback starts with those in the music community supporting and working towards equality.”