Nine Network chief executive Hugh Marks sent an email to staff on Wednesday to address the sexual harassment allegations made against former TV star Don Burke.
In the email, cited by Fairfax Media, Marks emphasised the network’s “zero tolerance” policy of inappropriate workplace behaviour, and announced the company will provide free counselling to employees “perhaps with old grievances” and set up a phone line to report bad behaviour.
“As much as we might like to, sometimes we unfortunately cannot rewrite history,” Marks said.
“In light of the appalling allegations this week of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct by Don Burke I wanted to write to all staff to reaffirm Nine’s commitment to maintaining a culture that is inclusive, supportive and respectful.”
He continued: “It’s my job as CEO, and that of your senior leaders, to ensure that people who have been treated poorly will be heard, and that they will get appropriate support if they need it.
“Any matters which are raised and require further action will be addressed appropriately either internally or, if required, externally of Nine.”
The network “no plans” to bring Burke back on air.
In a joint investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC published this week, several women who used to work for Burke and his production company, CTC, alleged they were involved in a series of sexual harassment incidents involving Burke.
Their allegations were followed by that of Olympic swimming champion Susie O’Neill, and yesterday sports journalist and commentator Caroline Wilson.
Wilson told Fairfax Media that following a conversation with Burke at the 1996 Logie Awards, when she apologised for turning her back to him to see the stage, Don allegedly said, “Not at all. Do you mind if I lick it?”
Burke has denied all of the initial allegations against him “absolutely” and said some came from people who “still bear a strong grudge against me”.
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