More TVNZ sexual misconduct allegations: Worker told to resign or be sacked after flashing at office party

TVNZ said there had been a big change in the way it handled workplace issues from 20 years ago.
STUFF
TVNZ said there had been a big change in the way it handled workplace issues from 20 years ago.

A TVNZ staff member was forced to resign after exposing his penis to revellers at the company's 2018 Christmas party.

A TVNZ spokesperson has confirmed the man was immediately stood down from his duties, and said the company acted before anyone made a formal complaint, calling the incident "completely out of line".

Stuff understands the staff member was offered the choice to resign or be sacked after an internal investigation.

TVNZ would not name the man, but said he was not an on-air personality or a member of the broadcast company's management team.

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A spokeswoman said: "We can't go into full details for obvious reasons. The fact is one person's behaviour on the night was completely out of line. We acted before we received a complaint.

"We immediately stood the individual down from work while we investigated. We determined there was a breach of our code of conduct and we acted – that person's gone from TVNZ as a result. From start to finish, this matter was addressed within two weeks."

TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick has invited people with information on historical sexual misconduct at the company to come forward.
Todd Eyre
TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick has invited people with information on historical sexual misconduct at the company to come forward.

The revelation comes after a second former staff member came forward on Wednesday with allegations of historical sexual harassment by a TVNZ manager.

The former staffer approached Stuff's #metooNZ team two days after former Communications Manager Andi Brotherston went public with details of her own claims of harassment by a news and current affairs manager in 2010.

Brotherston said on social media the manager followed her into the toilets after drinking heavily at lunch, pinned her against the wall and tried to grope and kiss her, claiming he had "booked a motel room across the road". She claimed she shook him off and fled.

Brotherston, who confirmed the details but did not wish to make further comment when contacted this week, said on Twitter she went public with the claim "because this still happens every day".

She said she complained to the head of TVNZ human resources at the time, who laughed and told her no-one would believe her.

In response to Brotherston's claims, TVNZ Chief Executive Officer Kevin Kenrick made a public statement on Monday, inviting others to come forward.

Kenrick said the company wanted to hear from anyone who had experienced similar incidents.

"We think that there is an opportunity to learn from that and where appropriate to apologise for behaviour that was unacceptable," he said.

The second former staffer was employed in TVNZ's production unit in the 1990s and early 2000s. She said she was the subject of an extended campaign of harassment from a senior manager, which included unwanted sexualised touching.

He would play with her hair, come up behind her and put his hands on her waist, and often touch her lower back "in a place where only a lover would touch you".

The woman was in her early 20s at the time, and said the manager would have been aged over 40.

TVNZ said it was committed to learning the lessons from its past and provide a safe and respectful working environment.
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TVNZ said it was committed to learning the lessons from its past and provide a safe and respectful working environment.

She described the behaviour as "cunning", and said it happened in the office, and in front of other workers. She told Stuff she had seen the same manager touch "at least three other women" in similar ways.

"He would make it look like a friendly hug, but his hands would in places they shouldn't be".

The woman, who Stuff has agreed not to name, said the behaviour was an open secret at TVNZ and the man was given the nickname "Grubby" by staff.

She said she complained to TVNZ human resources and was supported by other women who had seen the behaviour, but was asked whether "it was really that bad" and whether she was sure she wanted to make an official complaint.

She later heard the man had completed a course and had apologised to another young staffer.

The attitude of some senior staff members at the time was that young women working at TVNZ were "there for the taking", she said.

In response to the claims, a TVNZ spokesperson said the company would be "searching its archives" for details of the complaint.

The spokesperson said although it was "unlikely" the company had retained records from 20 years ago, "we fully support the decision of those who wish to take a stand and publicly share their personal story".

Stuff understands the former worker has given TVNZ some details about the manager involved, but the company would not say whether it had identified him, or whether the company was aware of "the pattern of behaviour" she described.

The spokesperson said since Kenrick made his plea for further information, TVNZ had heard from two more people, both of whom had shared "disturbing stories of their personal experiences working at TVNZ in the late 1990s".

"While we can't change what happened in our past – we remain open to learning from it and to ensuring we create a safe working environment for all people", the spokesperson said.

Asked why she chose to speak out this week, the former staffer said "it hurts, but it's better than silence".

TVNZ added: "We're committed to learning the lessons from our past and providing a safe and respectful working environment for everyone at TVNZ today."

Stuff