Record Label CEO Michael Johnston Accused of Setting up Hidden Cam to Film Nanny Naked

A Chicago music label boss has been accused of setting up hidden cameras in his home—including the bathroom—to film his nanny and her friend.

A civil lawsuit filed by the two women alleges that Michael Johnston, 38, former CEO of Audiotree, and his wife Kelly Johnston placed the cameras in their home and recorded the women without their consent as they undressed or bathed.

The lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, added that one of the cameras had been hidden inside a picture frame that was pointed toward a bathtub the two women had been encouraged to use while they were taking care of the couple's two children.

According to the newspaper, the nanny found the hidden cameras in February 2020 after spotting the one hidden in the photo frame.

The lawsuit also alleges that video shows Johnston moving a camera to record a whirlpool bath and later standing in the bath to review the results on his cellphone.

Johnston was arrested in Lake View, Chicago, on November 9 and charged with a felony count of unauthorized video recording. His wife has not been charged.

He is due in court later on Wednesday, according to the Sun-Times.

His attorney Damon Cheronis told the newspaper: "Mr. Johnston takes these allegations seriously and will continue to work through the appropriate legal process."

Gail Eisenberg, attorney for the two women, told the Sun-Times: "We think it's important to bring attention to the harms that can occur when someone's privacy is violated—the long-term effects and trauma to the victims."

The women are seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages from Johnston and his wife.

The former music executive has been removed from his position at Audiotree and its associated businesses, according to a statement released on the company's social media accounts.

The statement, posted on Tuesday, said Johnston was no longer associated with the "Audiotree team."

It read: "In light of the allegations against co-founder Michael Johnston, he has been removed as President and CEO of Audiotree, Audiotree Presents, Lincoln Hall, Schubas and Tied House.

"As of Saturday, November 12, Johnston is no longer a part of the Audiotree team. We respectfully ask for patience as we navigate this challenging time. Co-founder and COO Adam Thurston will now lead the companies as President and CEO."

Eisenberg shared a statement from one of the two women with Newsweek on Thursday. It said: "True justice would be me never having to deal with what working for this family has put me through. I wish this never happened in the first place.

"People shouldn't have to deal with perversive violations of privacy just from going to work, nor should people have to deal with this ever. My life is forever changed because of what they did to me.

"Hearing that Michael has turned himself in made me feel a semblance of hope for justice, however, there's still a long way to go. I hope that by speaking out about this I can empower other survivors to do the same.

Newsweek has contacted Audiotree for further comment, as well as Cook County Sheriff's Department and the attorney Damon Cheronis.

Update 11/18/21, 7:55 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add a statement from one of the two women, via their attorney Gail Eisenberg.