Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner says many of the accusations made against him in a damaging sex and drug scandal are “incorrect” as he faces a company-led investigation.
In only its second public statement on the scandal since it was reported on Monday, Seven West Media announced Thursday it will launch an independent inquiry into Mr Worner and his involvement with a junior employee.
The company said its board supported Mr Worner, but took “very seriously” allegations raised by former executive assistant Amber Harrison, which have been widely reported.
Mr Worner later sent his employees an email apologising for his conduct and expressing his regret over the unwanted exposure the saga had caused the organisation.
“Without reservation, I apologise to you all,” News Corp quoted Mr Worner as saying..
“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,” he said. “You are entitled to, and I hope expect, better decisions from me.”
Mr Worner claimed “a lot of the accusations [made by Ms Harrison] are factually incorrect” but did specify which in particular.
Earlier Thursday, Seven West Media said its board had met on four occasions this week to consider the allegations, which include claims of drug use.
The company said it supported the decisions surrounding Ms Harrison’s termination two years ago following an investigation into credit card misuse.
It said it became aware of the affair between Ms Harrison and Mr Worner two years ago and the new inquiry would determine whether all necessary matters were taken into account.
Earlier this week The New Daily reported the Australian Shareholders Association was calling on Mr Worner to resign.
News of the inquiry comes as Ms Harrison said she wants to front the company’s board to support her claims that her former boss took drugs before a work conference.
She told News Corp Wednesday she would be happy to speak to the Seven West Media board to “explain my truth”.
“He spent all night taking drugs with me. We were up all night, we barely slept,” Ms Harrison claimed.
“He partied hard … and then went off the next day and attended important work sessions.
“There were up to 30 people there at the conference, the cream of the cream at Seven. How can he deny that was a work event?”
Ms Harrison told media she believed Mr Worner had held onto his job because when grilled by the board, he denied using drugs in work settings.
Mr Worner this week expressed shame and regret after Ms Harrison went public with details of their affair, emerging publicly yesterday for the first time since the scandal broke.
– with AAP