The media release by former Seven employee Amber Harrison, which is below, detailing her sexual relationship with Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner is a powerful read on how some people abuse their positions of authority to satisfy their sexual needs. It is R-rated with some crude content attributed to Tim Worner which he has not denied.
An example is one text that Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner sent to Amber Harrison which said: “I want to f**k you so badly. And I want you to deal with my super hard c**k right now.”
Fairfax Media are reporting: “Maurice Backburn associate Kelly Thomas noted Mr Worner’s alleged conduct could not be restricted to his private life, with claims of sex during work hours and text messages to Ms Harrison allegedly saying his performance was “drug assisted”.” (Click here to read more)
There are reports that Tim Worner has had sexual relationships with at least 4 other staff members at Seven which include an actress and on-air-host. I am reliably told the actress is Rebecca Gibney and the on-air-host is Samantha Armytage.
Amber Harrison’s situation is not a one-off as Seven have previous form on the board. For example Channel Seven are currently being sued for unlawful termination by former Seven journalist Amy Taeuber who was sacked after making a complaint of sexual harassment which I have written about a number of times. (Click here and here and here to read more) I am told Seven breached the court order to file their defence on the 16/12/16 which puts them in contempt of court.
Specifics of the below statement have not been denied by Seven and they refused to answer questions that I sent to Kerry and Ryan Stokes on the 7th November 2016 about the relationship (Click here to read the email) and on the 19th December 2016 about Tim Worner being a cocaine addict. (Click here to read the email)
Amber Harrison’s press release – 18/12/16 (Photos added by me)
THE CEO of the Seven Network had a $750,000 performance bonus cut by $100,000 to buy the silence of a Seven West Media employee who for almost two years had been his secret lover.
Former Seven West executive assistant Amber Harrison has come forward with her explosive story of passionate drug-fuelled sex sessions with the boss of the nation’s number one television network, Tim Worner.
Ms Harrison’s alleged affair with the married Seven Network boss began in December 2012 after she met Mr Worner, then CEO of the television broadcasting arm of Seven West, at a board meeting in November, a month prior.
Within weeks the pair were engaged in a consensual sexual relationship that would see them rendezvous frequently at Ms Harrison’s Sydney apartment, party together at Bells at Killcare in July 2013 for a Seven West conference celebrating Mr Worner’s promotion to CEO of the ASX-listed parent company and meet up in Melbourne for sex during the Seven-sponsored Australian Open Tennis in January 2014.
When the affair began, Ms Harrison, then 35, was the highly-ranked executive assistant to Nick Chan, then CEO of Seven West’s magazine division Pacific Magazines and presently CEO of rival media company Bauer Media.
Ms Harrison believes her affair with Mr Worner may have brought Mr Chan’s career at Seven West to an end along with her own after Seven’s group HR boss group Melanie Allibon and commercial director Bruce McWilliam spearheaded an investigation which saw the EA accused of $276,000 in corporate fraud.
Mr Chan, with whom Ms Harrison enjoyed an excellent professional relationship after being recruited as his EA in July 2009, was made redundant six months later when the Seven West business was restructured. Ms Harrison regrets Mr Chan may have become “collateral damage” after her affair was exposed.
Ms Harrison, unemployed since being made redundant by Seven in November 2014 as part of a complex severance deed, would later repay $14,000 of credit card debt after successfully proving her Visa card was regularly used by others to pay for corporate events, conferences, travel, gifts and executive lunches.
Ms Harrison has come forward for the first time to tell the story of her affair with Mr Worner, a married father-of-four, after becoming frustrated by three failed attempts over two years at negotiating a settlement with the company where, she claims, entrenched sexist culture prevails and provides that a male executive behaving badly is rewarded and protected while the company will destroy the woman who stands up it.
The Seven boss, a regular church goer who lives at Manly with his family, started texting and emailing Ms Harrison and proposing he visit her at home after hours.
“The affair began the month after the board meeting at Pacific Magazines. We started flirting and soon after Tim began texting and emailing me for sex,” Ms Harrison said revealing the pair would meet for sex at her Sydney apartment.
“I knew he was married. It was never about love. It was about sex and power. He likes having a bit on the side. I found our relationship, if you’d call it that, thrilling to begin with.”
By the middle of 2013, Ms Harrison alleges the couple were heightening their sexual experiences with recreational drugs – specifically cocaine.
In May 2013, the day Mr Worner was announced as the new CEO at Seven West replacing Don Voelte at the helm of billionaire Kerry Stokes’ vast media empire, the boss of Australia’s number one television network stated in a text he “could not stop thinking about being with” Mr Chan’s EA.
On June 21, 2013, in another text Ms Harrison confirmed was sent by the Seven boss, Mr Worner suggests his sexual “performance” during a previous rendezvous was chemically assisted: “I think my performance was drug assisted. And if you can go dirtier I am slightly scared. But you are f hot so I will take the chance.”
Ms Harrison and Mr Worner’s sexual proclivities and eagerness are further laid bare in hundreds of texts exchanged between the two which Ms Harrison later destroyed at Seven’s direction but that Seven’s lawyers Johnson Winter & Slattery kept and provided to the Australian Human Rights Commission during a recent failed attempt at mediation.
Six months on, Mr Worner, then 52, professed his attraction to the younger woman: “I love being with you. Too much. Too sexy.”
On the evening of March 19, 2014, a self-described “drunkish” Mr Worner texted of being aroused thinking of Ms Harrison: “I was just going to tell you that I had a massive hard on and I was thinking about ramming it in your mouth.”
Five days later, on March 24, 2014, at 10.43pm, he is again lost in his fantasies about Ms Harrison: “I want to f**k you like a wild man.”
The promotion of Mr Chan to Chief Operating Officer of Seven West in 2013 would be the catalyst for a turbulent emotional shift in Ms Harrison after she and her boss were uprooted from Pacific Magazines’ offices in Eveleigh and moved to the Seven West headquarters in Jones Bay in December 2013.
“I could feel myself unraveling because I now had to see him more frequently,” she said. “He would walk past and not speak to me or acknowledge me and it became extremely difficult to manage the situation in the workplace.”
In the first half of 2014 Mr Worner continued meeting Mr Chan’s EA for sex though she was becoming increasingly angry and resentful that she was “invisible” to her lover in the workplace.
After Mr Worner ignored her suggestion that the pair cease their affair and she be moved internally into a new role – possibly into a production role away from administration and Mr Worner – she suffered an emotional breakdown, she claims.
Her texts in the early months of 2014 show Ms Harrison’s increasing desperation at the futility of the affair and her growing frustration about her career.
Just six months earlier, in September 2013, Mr Worner had authorised a $10,000 “special bonus payment” to Ms Harrison for her “exceptional performance and outstanding contribution” and “the hard work you put in and the considerable patience with which you do it”.
This was extremely unusual she said as she didn’t work for Mr Worner but Mr Chan.
In February 2014, Ms Harrison was lost for words in a text to Mr Worner: “I actually don’t know what to say to you anymore,” she wrote, unable, she said, to rationalise the man she knew in the bedroom with the one she saw at work.
It brought a blunt response from the CEO: “I want to f**k you so badly. And I want you to deal with my super hard c**k right now.”
Depressed, Ms Harrison, started having panic attacks at work and began habitually taking sick leave.
She informed Mr Worner the situation was “killing me” and begged to “be fired”.
Mr Worner responded, she said, by visiting her during her sick leave and having sex with her, she estimates, seven times in the first half of 2014. Mr Worner also reassured Ms Harrison via text “There is a huge future for you at Seven”.
On June 13, 2014, the couple had intercourse for the last time. In the weeks that followed Ms Harrison sent several heated texts to Mr Worner allegedly multiple affairs with other women previously and currently employed at Seven.
On July 11, Mr Chan pulled Ms Harrison aside to inform her she was being investigated for misuse of her credit card. She was offered two months salary to resign from Seven over $14,000 expenditure. She refused.
The initial investigation, Ms Harrison believes, was launched by Mr Worner’s then EA, Catherine Gooch, at Mr Worner’s behest in the hope of forcing her resignation.
“The investigation was out of Catherine’s remit. I believe the investigation was suggested by Tim in the hope I would resign,” she said, claiming abuse of corporate credit cards was rife in the company and particularly among senior executives.
Mr Chan, who learned for the first time that month about the affair between his EA and his boss, would recommend Ms Harrison not be sacked but given a written warning following a one week suspension and ordered to repay the $14,000 in personal expenses she was alleged to have charged to her corporate card, which she later did.
On July 17, a day after allegedly telling Ms Harrison he was lobbying for her to be given a “second chance”, Mr Worner suggested the sex should end though he stressed there was no link between it and the expenses hunt.
He further advised that once the investigation was behind her, Ms Harrison should “attack” her role at Seven and “power on”.
On July 30, Ms Harrison met with Seven’s group executive HR boss Melanie Allibon at Sydney’s Darling Hotel to admit her part in the affair with Mr Worner hoping it would explain therapy and medical expenses charged to her credit card.
On August 1, Ms Harrison signed a deed of release with Seven which, as per agreement with Ms Allibon and Mr Bruce McWilliam, would see the EA offered two months full paid leave, $100,000 paid (and taxed) as a bonus, and a new job in a non-administrative role away from Mr Worner.
The Seven West annual remuneration report would record Mr Worner’s bonus for the 2014 financial year dropped by $100,000 to $650,000 on the previous year when he pocketed $750,000 on top of his $3,075,962 salary. This bonus cut was in stark contrast to his fellow executives including Chan, McWilliam, Bridget Fair and Chris Wharton all of whom saw their bonuses increase. Ms Allibon also received a handsome bonus.
After returning from her paid leave and a European holiday, Ms Harrison was summoned, on November 8, by Ms Allibon to a private meeting at the Darling Hotel at which she hoped to learn details of her new job within the company.
Instead she would be told there was no job for her though she had a surprise coming.
Seven’s commercial director, lawyer Bruce McWilliam, trusted advisor to Seven chairman Kerry Stokes, was an unannounced attendee. Mr McWilliam produced a report outlining broader allegations of corporate fraud against Ms Harrison undertaken by independent company Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu following their engagement by Mr McWilliam on August 1 – the same date on which Ms Harrison entered into the first deed of release with Seven which, on forfeit of the promised position and due to her precarious mental health, was later declared by lawyers acting for Ms Harrison to be drafted in a blatantly one-sided form that would not have been agreed to if Ms Harrison had received even basic legal advice.
The Deloitte investigation alleging $262,000 of corporate fraud would sweep the corporate credit card of Ms Harrison’s boss Mr Chan into the company’s search for evidence against his EA. There is no suggestion Mr Chan engaged in any fraud.
The next day, on November 9, a stunned Ms Harrison retained Harmer’s Workplace Lawyers, specialists in sexual harassment, to help her fight the allegations.
Five days later on November 14, Seven presented Ms Harrison with a new deed of release demanding strict confidentiality, offering a settlement of more than $350,000 and an undertaking that for every dollar of alleged fraud she could disprove on the list, Seven would pay her same.
On November 20, during a meeting with Ms Allibon, Ms Harrison began to systematically justify the Deloitte expense list. At the first meeting, by just cross referencing the charges against her bosses diary, $71,000 was easily struck off. Seven would pay Ms Harrison that amount.
Over the next five months she would assemble evidence proving another $130,000 of legitimate expenses. Ms Harrison would run her own physical investigation at Deloitte’s Sydney office to retrieve supporting documents, as Seven refused to supply invoices to allow expense to be proven legitimate, even though they were required to provide the documentation under deed 2. “The entire process was a witchhunt, Seven did not investigate in any depth as they just thought they’d throw this enormous figure at me and bury me with it. The only reason Seven and Deloitte did not find the same supporting evidence to disprove the allegations in the documents I later obtained easily by gaining access to my expense records (at the office of Deloitte) is because they didn’t want to run a balanced investigation. No employee should have to run their own investigation. And no other employee, out of 10,000 , was subjected to the scrutiny that I was”.
By the time she agreed not to question approximately $40,000 of charges in the context of Deed 2, Ms Harrison alleges Seven had breached the second contract and she had paid $150,000 in legal fees, with Harmers swapping over 150 letters with Seven’s legal team at Johnson Winter & Slattery. After Ms Harrison refused to hand over her personal computer and phone at Seven’s demand without any safeguards to protect her privacy, Deed 2 collapsed and Seven ceased monthly payments it was making to Ms Harrison.
In June 2015, prior to Mr Worner being promoted to the board of Seven West Media, Harmers, on Ms Harrison’s behalf, submitted to the Australian Human Rights Commission, who later attempted mediation, a complaint outlining bullying, victimisation and sexual harassment by Tim Worner, Melanie Allibon and Seven. Ms Harrison said she never ascribed to hers being a sexual harassment case.
“I never felt this was a sexual harassment case. It was about abuse of power and also workplace safety. At the time of negotiating the first deed, Melanie Allibon had me in a hotel room at The Darling Hotel at 830pm at night while I was on medical leave for acute depression and extremely distressed, trying to force me to sign a contract with no witness nor legal representation. In the past two years I have tried everything to make my case and receive fair treatment from Seven and see them honour their contracts with me,” Ms Harrison said.
After negotiations failed at Australian Human Rights Commission in May 2016, Harrison sacked her legal team at Harmer’s who claim to be out of pocket over 300k. Seven’s legal costs are estimated to be over $1 million. In June 2016, Harrison engaged lawyer Sam Macedone who attempted to bring the parties together in a final attempt at resolution.
“During the past four months of negotiation I have tried everything to secure a third contract to replace the two Seven were never going to honour because that was their plan. They wanted me frustrated by the legal process, unable to get to court, broken and penniless and they wanted to cover up the affair with Tim, and the cover up of Tim. How does one individual fight this massive company with unlimited resources. There is little recourse available to individuals in our court system, particularly against Seven who live to frustrate and litigate. They have continued to apply unreasonable, wide reaching and every changing demands to the very end and I have nothing left to fight them with now, except the truth’’ a discouraged but unyielding Ms Harrison said after Seven pulled the plug on four months of negotiations for the third contract recently. “This contract could have been sorted in hours not years.
I have attempted for two years to resolve this quietly for the sake of everyone involved, a decision that has ruined me. The allegations made by Amy Taeuber in her case against Seven have weighed heavily on me. The same HR staff at Seven are involved. Seven continue to bury women to further their principles of power and greed. Seven have left me no choice but to take a public stand”.
”Seven have backed me into a corner and I can’t get out of it but I refuse to be bullied and intimidated. I have been threatened with court proceedings in writing over twenty times and with jail three times. I will not allow the threat of being sued to take away my right to speak. Any money Seven have paid me from the two deeds has been spent fighting them. Seven should play out their war of law against me in public now.”
Mr Chan, who left Seven West Media in December 2014 after a decade, has previously said he was disappointed he did not leave the company on his terms. He received a $1.14 million termination settlement.
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