Investigation launched into sexual harassment allegations at The Rock radio station

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Mar 2021, 11:25AM
Claims of serious misconduct have been made against a employee at The Rock. Photo / MediaWorks
Claims of serious misconduct have been made against a employee at The Rock. Photo / MediaWorks

Investigation launched into sexual harassment allegations at The Rock radio station

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Mar 2021, 11:25AM

An independent investigator will be hired to look into allegations of sexual harassment by an employee at MediaWorks radio station The Rock.

The allegations were made this week on social media - resulting in the news and radio company taking swift action to carry out "a thorough review of historic events and our current workplace culture and practices".

Four accounts relating to the same employee at The Rock were shared to the social media page, which encourages women to share their experiences of working in the music industry.

One woman claimed the man "has been around forever creeping people out".

Another woman said she'd had "a few run ins" with the man, and she would not feel comfortable being alone with him.

Since the inital allegations, more had been made about other men at the network. One accuser said many women had resigned as a result of the behaviour.

On Thursday, MediaWorks' director of people and culture Alex Nicholson sent an all-staff email addressing the allegations.

"I wanted to get in touch with you following some posts made in recent days in regards to the radio industry," she said.

"The posts are a call to action, for people to share stories of potential incidents or bullying or harassment.

"I want to remind you we have a confidential internal process here at Mediaworks, if you ever wanted to report something of concern to you.

"You can be assured that anything reported through this channel will be looked into and treated in confidence."

Nicholson told staff she was "always available for a confidential conversation".

"We are always here to support all our staff," she said.

A MediaWorks spokesperson said the company would hire an independent investigator to conduct a review of the allegations.

"This week, a social media account has published allegations against individuals in the local music and media industries. As a result, MediaWorks immediately communicated with staff to remind them about support channels available to them and the ways they can come forward and report any concerns confidentially," a statement said.

"We can confirm that we have commenced an investigation into allegations that may relate to our business. Where there is evidence of misconduct, appropriate action will be taken.

The statement said MediaWorks supported a diverse and inclusive culture.

"And we have a Code of Conduct which is reviewed regularly.

"As with many organisations across New Zealand, we have held and will continue to run workshops to ensure our people understand how to apply the Code of Conduct in practice.

"Further to this, we have taken the decision to engage an independent investigator to conduct a thorough review of historic events and our current workplace culture and practices."

The terms of reference of the investigation are being determined.

This week, New Zealand Media and Entertainment Head of Radio Wendy Palmer emailed staff advising them that NZME was aware of the social media activity.

The email was sent out of a duty of care to staff, reassuring them that the alleged behaviours had no place at NZME, a spokesman said.

"We are not aware that the allegations on the social media site involve any NZME staff, past or present."