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TV stars fight to keep names out of Seven West boss Tim Worner’s sex scandal

The saga embroiling embattled Seven West boss Tim Worner continues to spiral out of control with the company’s lawyers launching legal action to prevent the names of two prominent employees being linked with the scandal.

Amber Harrison, a former executive assistant with the network, has alleged in a legal document that her one-time lover Mr Worner had affairs with four other women, including two on-air stars.


Seven executive’s extra-marital affair in legal battle

Legal stoush after Seven West Media boss Tim Worner’s messy affair with a 35-year-old executive assistant goes public after negotiations breakdown.

A website has published the names of the high-profile women.

Seven was swift to respond to the publication and the matter will be in the Supreme Court on Friday as a matter of urgency.

In the court documents the women are identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

The website concerned failed to respond to a court order that the offending material be removed by 8pm Thursday night.

Other media outlets have also received threatening emails from Seven about the women, who have denied they had any relationship with Mr Worner. He has also denied having any relationships with those women.

Earlier, Mr Worner had apologised to staff at the network for the “unwelcome attention” his affair with Ms Harrison had brought to the network and his family.

An internal staff email signed off with “onwards”, shows Mr Worner has no intention of leaving the company.

His message comes just hours after Seven West Media’s board announced it would commission a second investigation into Mr Worner’s affair with his junior female colleague, which includes accusations of cocaine use and credit card misuse.

“Without reservation, I apologise to you all,” Mr Worner wrote in the email to staff.

“What I did was wrong. What I did is certainly not a reflection of the standards of the shareholders, the chairman, the board, or any of you. You are entitled to, and I hope expect, better decisions from me.”

“A lot of the allegations are factually incorrect but guess what, that doesn’t matter anymore. The one thing I am not doing is making any excuses. I obviously regret it and most of all I regret the unwelcome attention it has brought to the company and my family. None of you deserve that. Not one of you.”

He then went on applaud the company’s achievements during 2016, which include merging newsrooms with The Sunday Times, and the Seven’s culture, but said no culture was “static”.

“We cannot allow what you have all had to put up with this week, because of my mistake, to be what defines our values.

“And I fervently believe it isn’t. I am in no way sharing the blame here, but I do want to say that, like everything, elements of our culture can be improved and we will focus on absolutely confirming we have a safe and ethical workplace.

“Once again, I thank you and salute you for your efforts in 2016. I reiterate that my poor decisions should not in any way take any shine off what you have achieved this year … Have a safe, healthy and happy break for those able to get one in what is now a truly 24 hour, seven days of every week operation. And get ready to charge into 2017 with more gusto than ever before.

“Onwards, TW [Tim Worner]”

Mr Worner has been under pressure this week after Ms Harrison emailed details of their affair to news outlets on the weekend.

She alleges the company has treated her badly since the affair came to light.

Seven has stated that the credit card discrepancies were discovered by a random audit conducted before Ms Harrison revealed the affair.

Seven denied the investigation into Ms Harrison’s credit card was launched as a result of a complaint to HR and said that it was a ­random check.

Ms Harrison told Fairfax Media on Thursday that she hoped the second so-called “independent” report will be fairer than the first and that other executives would have their credit card expenditure reviewed.

Ms Harrison said that she had worked at Seven since 2009 and never had her expenses queried.

In July 2014, within three weeks of asking to be moved away from Mr Worner, Ms Harrison said her corporate credit card usage became the subject of an investigation.

After she came back from two months paid leave in November 2014 she was presented with a report conduced in her absence by Deloitte, which accused her of $262,000 in unauthorised expenses.

Ms Harrison said there were 1500 expense entries, many of which were on behalf of her then boss magazine chief Nick Chan.

Ms Harrison alleges she was asked to detail each one with no access to any records. “Seven made it impossible for me to prove what was legitimate and what wasn’t.” Ms Harrison later spent months going through the expense records.

“I was the only person out of ten thousand [employees) who was subjected to this kind of scrutiny.”

“I have been treated absolutely unfairly in the context of everybody else’s credit cards.”

Ms Harrison reimbursed the company $14,000.

The full email from Tim Worner to staff:

All,

You would all be aware that last Sunday, a former employee released details of an inappropriate relationship with me.

Without reservation, I apologise to you all.

What I did was wrong. What I did is certainly not a reflection of the standards of the Shareholders, the Chairman, the Board, or any of you.

You are entitled to, and I hope expect, better decisions from me.

A lot of the allegations are factually incorrect but guess what, that doesn’t matter anymore.

The one thing I am not doing is making any excuses.

I obviously regret it and most of all I regret the unwelcome attention it has brought to the company and my family.

None of you deserve that. Not one of you.

Your achievements this year, and there are many, should not be tainted and overshadowed by this.

Ten years of ratings domination and another outstanding result from the television Sales team.

The integration of The West Australian, The Sunday Times, the west, perthnow and Seven Perth into one vibrant, buzzing newsroom.

And a magazine business that is transforming itself so quickly that in the last 12 months, according to Neilsen DRM, it has become the fastest growing digital publisher in the country.

For the first time ever, we are the number one media company on line in Australia, a leadership position we built during the 2016 Olympics and have held onto ever since.

You have achieved such feats through bloody hard work and the continued great execution of great ideas.

And in no small way, this is because of the culture at Seven West Media.

You should all be proud of that culture, but no healthy culture is static.

We cannot allow what you have all had to put up with this week, because of my mistake, to be what defines our values.

And I fervently believe it isn’t.

I am in no way sharing the blame here, but I do want to say that, like everything, elements of our culture can be improved and we will focus on absolutely confirming we have a safe and ethical workplace.

I will learn from my situation to help make this a better company. That is my commitment to you.

You have a culture of inclusiveness and of working with respect for each other. This plays a huge part in your capacity to put our customers first and give them what they want, whether they be advertisers, viewers, readers or online users.

You do what you do with great passion and integrity.

Our diverse workforce has been critical to our commercial success. We want to reflect the community of which we strive to be an even more vital part.

Every year we commit to improving our performance from the previous year.

And that must apply to our culture as well.

Next year we will have a renewed focus on underlining our values and the better internal communication of them.

We are also going to commit ourselves to another year of leadership.

The plans for that began a long time ago and are already well under way.

Once again, I thank you and salute you for your efforts in 2016.

I reiterate that my poor decisions should not in any way take any shine off what you have achieved this year.

2017 promises to be another exciting year. We want to continue to transform and it is our culture that enables us to continue that journey with purpose.

Have a safe, healthy and happy break for those able to get one in what is now a truly 24 hour, seven days of every week operation.

And get ready to charge into 2017 with more gusto than ever before.

Onwards,

TW


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