'The Four' Judge Charlie Walk Benches Himself Amid Sexual Harassment Allegation

1/31/2018 2:27 PM PST

'The Four' Judge Charlie Walk Benches Himself After Sexual Harassment Allegation (UPDATE)

Breaking News

6:45 PM PT -- Walk will not appear in the finale of 'The Four' ... saying he made the decision not to attend "out of respect for the contestants, my fellow judges and everyone involved with the show."

He says he doesn't want his presence to be a distraction, but denies the allegations against him by adding ... "there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened."

'The Four' could be down from 4 judges to 3 very shortly -- FOX is reportedly close to cutting ties with Charlie Walk, the Republic Records honcho accused of sexually harassing a former employee.

The approaching shakeup comes on the heels of Tristan Coopersmith's claim Walk repeatedly groped and harassed her during their years working together at Sony Music. Walk co-judged FOX's new talent search with Diddy, Meghan Trainor and DJ Khaled.

Walk will appear on Thursday night's pre-taped episode of the show, but will not appear next week ... according to Deadline.

Although, Charlie's denied Coopersmith's allegation ... he's also been suspended from Republic Records, which says it's hired a law firm to investigate the claims.