John Frost Speaks on Craig McLachan

John Frost Speaks on Craig McLachan

The Managing Director of the Gordon Frost Organisation - John Frost - says his company must do better on preventing bullying and harassment in the future.

Here is his statement.

"I wish to address the media reports around the allegations by Erika Heynatz, Christie Whelan Browne and Angela Scundi against Craig McLachlan, and the response by The Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO).

Anyone should feel comfortable reporting issues of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying, and the fact that these three women did not feel as though they could report these issues in 2014 is concerning and distressing to me, and I sincerely apologise to them for this. 

Our company is responsible for sometimes hundreds of people across many productions at any given time, and we do have very strict policies and procedures in place when it comes to reporting of allegations of this nature. We had those same policies in place in 2014.

Over the past few days we have spent time reinforcing those policies and assuring all employees across all productions that any reported incident will be treated seriously and promptly with sensitivity to all parties concerned.

We have never had an incident of this nature prior to this, and complaints of any type of bullying or harassment are very rare, although they do occur.

Erika, Christie and Angela have publicly stated many times in the media that they chose not to make a complaint and that they waited some years to come forward. I am glad they finally did, so that their claims can be properly investigated.

On a production set, there are often comments made about issues and people, and our managers have many private discussions with performers and others, as it is a part of their role to work towards harmony on set. I have no reason to disbelieve anyone who says they spoke to one of our managers in 2014, however none of our managers were aware of any issues that warranted further action at the time, and all of our employees were aware of the procedures of making a complaint.

However we can and we will strive to do better. In light of these recent events, I am determined to enforce a culture at GFO where no one is fearful of reporting incidents and I can assure all cast and crew that I will be personally instructing all of our managers to listen and act decisively and proactively should an issue be brought to them, so that our employees are confident of a safe and secure work environment.

I’d also like to say to Christie, who said she spoke to me personally backstage and told me that she was frightened of Craig, that I can honestly say while I remember seeing her briefly, I cannot remember any discussion around Craig. I can only explain this by pointing out that I speak to many people backstage across many productions and have little time to spend with each person. Christie has told the media that I responded with words to the effect that what she was feeling was not good and that I gave her my phone number and asked her to call me. She has confirmed that she did not take up that offer.

Christie has also said in recent interviews that she didn’t know that what she was experiencing was sexual harassment because she took it as a joke at the time. Sexual harassment is not a joke, but our company can only deal with issues if we are told about them.

I understand why the women decided not to come to GFO with their concerns, and I am sorry they felt that they may be in some way disadvantaged by making a complaint. I give them and all employees a commitment that we will do more to enforce a culture where no one else will ever be fearful of coming forward.

I will also briefly respond to media reports about our initial reply to the letter by the women’s lawyers, where we mentioned defamation, by simply saying that while the letter we received contained some of the alleged allegations, it is impossible to conduct any sort of investigation when the names of those making the allegations are not given nor specific details. The anonymous nature of their letter also indicated other possible motives.

GFO is a company of people, good people, who care about each other. When these allegations came to light this week in the media we acted immediately. We will always take a strong stand against any form of harassment."

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