Capitol exec called Tina Turner ‘an old N– douchebag,’ documentary reveals

The story in 'Tina' was retold by John Carter, a producer, songwriter and A&R rep interviewed in 2009 about his work with Turner.

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The riveting documentary Tina, which is garnering acclaim from critics and fans alike since its release on HBO Max, is shedding light on the many challenges the rock icon faced in her career. 

Tina Turner was alleged referred to as “an old ni–er douchebag” by a Capitol Records executive in the 1980s. The story was retold by John Carter, a producer, songwriter and A&R representative who was interviewed in 2009 about his work with Turner. 

Legendary singer Tina Turner was alleged referred to as “an old ni**er douchebag” by a Capitol Records executive in the 1980s, according to a story retold by another industry insider. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Carter said the incident occurred sometime in 1982 or 1983 when management changes took place at the label, and new executives were put in place. 

In the interview, Carter says, “The new regime comes in, and, like any new regime, they have their own idea of what they want to do. So I flip out, go downstairs, and I say, ‘Hey, this is my act.’ And the classic quote is, ‘Carter, you signed this old ni–er douchebag?’”

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According to Carter, his reaction to this was, “Yeah, I did, and I’m really happy about it. Now, pick up the phone and call Roger Davies.” Davies has managed Turner for decades. 

In the Tina documentary, Carter said that he got further pushback against signing the singer to the label, eventually saying, “I get on my knees and said, ‘I’m now going to beg you, and I’m not going to get up until you pick up the phone.'” 

Carter said further that the executive refused to commit to marketing Turner’s music, saying — according to his account — “You finish your record. But you understand we’re going to do nothing, that’s all there is.”

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The veteran record label provided a statement exclusively to The Wrap, saying its officials found the comments “reprehensible and appalling.” 

“The incident that John Carter describes in the HBO documentary, ‘Tina,’ would have occurred 40 years ago when Capitol was under different ownership and management, and we’re only now learning of those reprehensible and appalling comments,” a Capitol Music Group spokesperson wrote exclusively. 

“Capitol Music Group is proud of our association with Tina Turner and the role we play in ensuring her music will continue to inspire new generations for decades to come.”

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