Sexual assault allegations at MediaWorks as Maria Dew investigation findings about to be released

MediaWorks received at least two complaints of alleged sexual assault as part of its investigation into worker misconduct, the Herald understands.

A source at the company also claimed dozens of complaints of harassment, bullying and inappropriate behaviour had emerged within a single part of the organisation during the inquiry.

MediaWorks will today release the findings of a QC-led inquiry into workplace behaviour at the company – three days later than originally expected. It’s been reported the board had “asked for more time to process the findings and recommendations” of that report.

MediaWorks announced in March it had launched an internal investigation after allegations of sexual harassment within the business emerged on social media.

An external inquiry, run by Maria Dew QC, was announced less than a week later, running in parallel to the company’s internal investigation.

Dew was to review any evidence and probe allegations of sexual and racial discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and any misuse of drugs or alcohol at the organisation, which owns radio stations and also ran TV3 before its sale last year.

The Dew inquiry, which looked into allegations spanning back three years, also examined how the company handled and investigated complaints from staff members, the Herald understands.

MediaWorks had not referred the sexual assault allegations to the police, the source said.

Police declined to comment when asked last month about any complaints they may have received relating to MediaWorks.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while they genuinely felt chief executive Cam Wallace wanted to do the right thing, they believed changing the workplace’s culture would be difficult.

They told the Herald they felt “completely sick” about how the sexual assault allegations had been handled.

The source thought the company hadn’t done enough to address workplace issues when they arose and this had allowed incidents of bullying to occur.

As well as the two instances of sexual assault, other complaints alleged various forms of harassment, inappropriate behaviour, bullying, fat shaming and sexist comments.

MediaWorks did not answer specific questions from the Herald.

A spokesperson last night said the company had “committed to being open and transparent throughout this process and as you know the Maria Dew QC report will be shared with our staff … before being released to the public.

“The terms of reference are available on our website and cover everything the review has been looking into.

“I will issue a media release [today] which will outline our response to the report and the actions we will be taking as a result.”

The source said they believe staff don’t trust internal systems and only felt comfortable coming forward because of the external review.

“I think that speaks volumes, and also makes me wonder how many people haven’t come forward because they’re too scared and they don’t trust in the process.”

Current and former workers were asked to come forward on a voluntary basis to share to Dew workplace allegations and evidence.

Dew was to assess that and then make recommendations or refer evidence or allegations which may spark disciplinary employment investigations.

Dew’s final report, according to the publicly-released terms of reference, would be provided to Wallace. All participants in the review, as well as current MediaWorks staff and contractors, are expected to be provided with an executive summary of the report.

Source: Read Full Article