Renaat Vandepapeliere, the head of Belgium-based independent record label R&S Records, has had a legal claim of racial discrimination against him dismissed.
Talent scout Raj Chaudhuri sued the label last year on the grounds that it discriminated against him. Spokespeople for the label said there is “no truth” to the claims, and called them “spurious.”
A London tribunal has now ruled that the case cannot proceed, given that Chaudhuri was a freelancer and not an employee. Vandepapeliere stated that he was “delighted” by the ruling. “This last two years has been absolute hell for me and my partner Sabines, my family, and the artists on our record label,” he said in a statement.
In his claim, Chaudhuri said he attempted to “diversify the label and the artists it worked with,” but found his efforts frustrated or criticized. He alleges that artists he championed were dismissed as “terrible” and “crap.” Chaudhuri also claims that Vandepapeliere dismissed music from ethnic minority artists as “meaningless” and that Vandepapeliere described the history of techno as “very white.”
“Renaat Vandepapeliere is certainly not racist and everyone at R&S Records embraces equality,” said Vandepapeliere’s wife, Sabine Maes.
In their ruling, authorities said that Chaudhuri’s case was not covered by the Equality Act. He was “free to choose how and where to do the work [scouting talent], or not do it at all,” wrote Judge Victoria Wright.
This dispute has been going on for nearly two years. In 2020, U.K.-based producer and DJ Forest White cut ties with the label over their handling of the case.