Nearly three years after he was arrested in late 2016 for allegedly strangling his girlfriend on a business trip, Monster Energy executive Brent Hamilton has been ousted from the company, according to four people familiar with the situation.
His recent departure came after a female co-worker allegedly accused Hamilton of sending her sexually explicit text messages late at night, those sources told HuffPost, requesting anonymity because they feared retaliation from the multibillion-dollar beverage company.
A spokesman for Monster Energy said only that Hamilton was “no longer with the company” and declined to comment further.
HuffPost first wrote about Hamilton, who ran Monster Energy’s music marketing division, as part of an investigation last year into sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuits filed against the company, which is partly owned by Coca Cola.
Monster is best known for aggressively marketing energy drinks to boys and men. “Unleash the Beast” is one slogan. Its hyper-caffeinated drinks have names like Assault and Maxx. The company’s scantily clad “Monster Girls” are a big part of the sell.
Another executive featured in the 2018 article, John Kenneally, was fired less than two weeks after HuffPost published its story, which included text messages Kenneally had sent to a subordinate. In the messages, he described her as a “whore,” made a racist comment about “black dicks,” and used the term “bitch” to describe her and a colleague.
Monster Energy stood by Hamilton after his 2016 arrest.
Hamilton, 47, is still awaiting trial in Nashville for allegedly assaulting and strangling his then-girlfriend, Sara Rabuse, a makeup artist who contracted with Monster Energy. The alleged incident happened in a hotel room during a business trip that Hamilton took to the 2016 Country Music Awards. One of the nominees had been sponsored by Monster.
The intervening years have been hard on Rabuse. She’s walked away from her storefront business in Hollywood, California. She said the stress and the publicity following the incident made it hard to focus on growing her clientele.
The fact that Hamilton’s employer stood behind him for so long had always been a disappointment, Rabuse said.
She doesn’t quite know how to feel about Hamilton’s ouster, she said. “It’s not justice for me,” she said. “My impression was they weren’t taking things seriously. Or my allegations seriously. Now that he’s been let go, maybe they are taking things seriously.”
HuffPost called Hamilton at home multiple times. He did not respond.
A hearing in his criminal case is scheduled for June 6 in Nashville.
A spokesperson for Monster told HuffPost last year that it had launched an investigation into its human resource practices. The company did not respond to questions about the results of that investigation.
“Monster Energy has zero-tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind,” the company told HuffPost in January 2018. “Monster takes all reported complaints very seriously. Any suggestions to the contrary are false.”
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