Updated: PM alleges sexual harassment complaint within News Corp

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has opened a can of worms, alleging that within News Corp there is a sexual harassment complaint currently under investigation. News Corp has since dismissed the claims.

At this morning’s press gallery, Morrison was responding to questions from Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell, about sexual harassment allegations within parliament when Morrison responded: “…in your own organisation that there is a person who has had a complaint made against them for harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet and that matter is being pursued by your own HR department.”

When Clennell responded that he was “not aware” of the investigation or incident, Morrison added: “So let’s not all of us who sit in glass houses here start getting into that.”

He continued: “You are free to make your criticisms and to stand on that pedestal but be careful.”

Shortly after, Morrison’s communications director, Andrew Carswell, advised Clennell that the matter raised by Scott Morrison, does not pertain to Sky News.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the press conference.

“There is no allegation before Sky News, the type that Scott Morrison alleged in the press conference. He needs to clarify that, he needs to clarify where he heard the rumour from,” Clennell later said on air.

Which then indicates, that if not within Sky News, it is within the broader News Corp organisation, which owns Sky News. Mumbrella has contact News Corp Australia for comment.

During a follow up question to Morrison from the press gallery, he added that the information regarding a sexual harassment complaint was brought to his attention “late last night”.

“The suggestion was made by a member of the press gallery that things like this do not happen in the media and I think that would be unfair,” he said.

At the recent senate hearing into media diversity, a former News Corp photographer told senators that subjected to a “toxic” and “sexist” work environment.

Updated: News Corp responds 

A note from News Corp’s Australasia executive chairman, Michael Miller, has stated that Prime Minister Scott Morrison “was wrong” to claim an investigation is under way into a complaint accusing an employee of harassment against a woman in a female toilet.

“No complaint has been received and News Corp and Sky News are not dealing with a complaint,” the statement read.

“News Corp and Sky News take seriously any issues raised by staff and our utmost priority is to respect their privacy and confidentiality. This is standard business practice and because of this, we do not normally comment on private matters.

“However given the Prime Minister’s extraordinary public claims made at a press conference broadcast live across the nation, I want to put to rest any suggestion that an employee of our company is being investigated for conduct suggested by Mr Morrison.”

According to the statement, in recent weeks, following the reporting of matters of sexually inappropriate behaviour at Parliament House, the HR team gave staff the opportunity to talk in confidence about their well-being.

“During these proactive conversations, the News Corp’s HR team learned of a verbal exchange between two News Corp employees in Parliament House in Canberra last year. The exchange was about a workplace-related issue, it was not of a sexual nature, it did not take place in a toilet and neither person made a complaint. Following those inquiries, our HR team wrote to one of the people involved and the matter was resolved.

“The Prime Minister appears to have joined these two matters and conflated them into an episode of harassment in a toilet that is under current investigation.

“This is simply untrue and it undermines the principle that people must be able to raise issues safely and in confidence.”


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