Broadcaster Chris Smith has been sacked by Sky News Australia as well as Nine Entertainment after alleged drunken treatment of women at a Sydney venue after a Sky News Christmas party.
Hours after Nine sacked the 2GB broadcaster, the Sky News chief executive, Paul Whittaker, followed suit, saying Smith’s contract had been terminated due to allegations of “serious misconduct”.
“Following an investigation into allegations of serious misconduct, we have today advised Chris Smith that his contract with Sky News Australia has been terminated as a result of inappropriate behaviour that is in breach of his contract and company policy,” Whittaker said.
It is the second time Smith has been terminated by Nine for inappropriate behaviour with female colleagues.
Twenty-four years ago Smith was sacked as chief of staff of A Current Affair after exposing himself to female colleagues in the Nine boardroom after a farewell lunch.
The recent incident involved inappropriate behaviour toward Sky colleagues at the Establishment, an upmarket bar in the Sydney CBD, after the Sky party at the Ivy.
Nine’s managing director of radio, Tom Malone, said: “Chris’s behaviour represents a serious breach of his contract and is not aligned with the values of 2GB.”
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Smith has managed to resurrect his career on several occasions after inappropriate behaviour stretching back to the 1998 incident at Channel Nine.
After a stint working in China on English language radio, Smith was re-employed by Nine as a newsreader. But in 2009 he was stood down from his role on 2GB after allegedly groping a female colleague at a Christmas party.
Nine’s decision to terminate Smith on Tuesday came after his 2GB colleague Ray Hadley said he should not return to the station’s airwaves.
“What happened at the Christmas party last weekend is not wokeness,” Hadley told listeners. “He was sacked in 2009 for his performance at a Christmas party – I don’t think he should ever return to our network.”
Hadley’s sentiments echoed those of Sky News presenters Andrew Bolt and Rita Panahi who said on their programs on Monday night that he should not return.
Bolt told viewers Smith allegedly “got drunk and groped a woman and propositioned several others”.
The News Corp columnist and broadcaster said “he’s done it before, long before we gave him another chance” and “I am stunned he does drink at parties”.
“Chris, all the very best to you with getting over what you say is your addiction and your bipolar condition, but your recovery must take place somewhere else, not here,” Bolt said.
“Good luck but goodbye”.
Panahi: “What he did on Saturday night, how he made a number of women feel, means that in my opinion he can never be on this network again.”
Smith apologised on Monday for his “humiliating” behaviour, citing alcoholism and mental health struggles for his inappropriate conduct.
“I am beyond gutted and devastated to know I have upset my colleagues after our Christmas party,” Smith said.
“I apologise profusely to the women I upset. That’s not the man I am at work ever, as they will all attest. They have been so supportive to me and do not deserve such drunken treatment.”