John Fairfax glad family name no longer associated with ‘tarnished’ Nine brand

Nine Entertainment is currently fielding dozens of employee allegations of harassment and bullying, and now the heir of the Fairfax Media brand is telling News Corp mastheads he’s glad the family name is no longer associated with the “tarnished” brand.

Speaking to the Australian following his appearance at the Walkley Foundation’s mid-year awards in Sydney, John B Fairfax, who built a handful of regional papers into the $1 billion Rural Press empire, told Nine’s rival: “I think Nine has allowed its reputation to slide and I think that’s unfortunate. The recent allegations have tarnished the image of a great ­organisation.

“With recent events at Nine, perhaps it was just as well that no Fairfax, nor the name, was associated with that company whose corporate conduct, I have to say, has cast a shadow over media ethics.

“Culture permeates an organisation from the top. Good leadership is paramount. Our media leadership needs to be held to ­account.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. This stuff doesn’t reflect well on the company, and the company’s governance.”

Fairfax told The Australian that, when Nine merged with Fairfax in 2018, and dropped the name, he “lamented this”, but has clearly rethought this, in the midst of the current Nine leadership failures.

John B. Fairfax in 1992, at the SMH Pitt St offices.

“I’ve reflected on the Fairfax name and the contribution it, or we, have made to journalism in Australia. Nine decided to drop the Fairfax name after more than 150 years and I lamented this, not from a personal point of view but rather a recognition of what had been decades of quality journalism associated with the name.

“When you have a reputation and you lose a reputation, it’s very hard to revive it.”

The Australian has also published quotes from an anonymous Nine staffer who claims to be among the dozens who have lodged workplace complaints this month, following the start of an independent, external review by Intersection.

The woman claimed she was “groped by Wick at an all-staff function several years ago, and nothing was done about it”.

The paper also quotes an insider, who said “the process has been really triggering for a lot of women who normalised all the shit they went through, but it’s made us all realise how toxic the environment was and is”.


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