Chicago-Based Record Label CEO Fired Over Accusations That He, Wife Set Up Hidden Cameras to Take Nude Photos of Nanny

Michael Johnston, who along with his wife is accused of setting up hidden cameras to capture nude images of their child's nanny in a civil lawsuit, has been removed as president and CEO of a Chicago-based record label.

In a statement, Audiotree announced that Johnston, the label's co-founder and the owner of Chicago venues Schubas and Lincoln Hall, has been removed from his position. "As of Saturday, Nov. 12, Johnson is no longer a part of the Audiotree team," the company said. "We respectfully ask for patience as we navigate this challenging time."

Audiotree, founded in 2011 by Johnston and Adam Thurston, markets itself as a new music discovery platform and a home to all members of the music industry. The company is well known as a destination for live music sessions, with Audiotree Live broadcasting directly to YouTube. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Audiotree hosted a series of live virtual concerts.

Johnson, Wife Accused of Voyeurism

Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston Audiotree

The decision comes shortly after Johnston, along with his wife Kelly Halverson, were named in a lawsuit alleging that they had set up hidden cameras in their home to capture nude images of their nanny.

The nanny and another woman have filed a civil suit against Johnston and his wife Kelly Halverson. The women — named as Jane Doe and Julie Doe in the court filing — are friends and recent graduates from DePaul University.

According to the women's lawyer Gail Eisenberg, Jane was hired in December 2019 as a home manager, child caretaker, and personal assistant to Johnston and Halverson.

Jane Found Spy Cameras Disguised as Photo Frame, iPhone Dock While Undressing

In one instance, "Jane Doe" was asked to organize some boxes in the couple's bedroom closets, which she discovered were filled with sex toys. A month later, Jane and "Julie" were asked to housesit their 8,000 square-feet home and were "encouraged to use the Jacuzzi bathtub in the master bathroom" and to "help themselves to the Johnstons' wine and beer while they were away." Both women allege that the couple secretly videotaped them while undressed using spy cameras.

Hidden camera
Hidden camera (For representational purposes). Twitter

One month after that, the suit alleges that the couple had Jane housesit for them again, but this time, prior to undressing, Jane found a hidden camera disguised as a picture frame aimed near the bathtub. From there, Jane searched the house and found two more hidden cameras, one disguised as an iPhone dock charger and another in the bedroom she was sleeping in.

Eisenberg said that there is even video of Johnston setting up the camera, "these were motion sensor cameras, so any person who would have entered those rooms would have turned on the camera." She added that said copies of the videos the women found in the home were handed over to Chicago police.

On Nov, 10, Johnston appeared in bond court on a felony charge of making an unauthorized recording in a bathroom. Halverson has not been charged. Johnston responded to the allegations in a statement via his attorney, saying that he "takes these allegations seriously and will continue to work through the appropriate legal process." He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 17.