News Corp has responded to claims by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that there is a sexual harassment complaint currently under investigation at the media company.
At a Tuesday morning press conference the Prime Minister responded to a question from Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell about sexual harassment allegations within parliament when he stated:
“In your own organisation 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.”
News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller has issued a response to the claims:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was wrong today to claim an investigation is underway 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.
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.
In recent weeks, following the reporting of matters of sexually inappropriate behaviour at Parliament House, our HR team proactively gave our staff the opportunity to talk to us in confidence about their well-being. I thank those who did so.
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.
News Corp has no further statements to make on this matter.