Mediacorp producer accuses colleague of sexist remarks

Miss Park Juwon has alleged that a male colleague referred to a part of her body as the reason that she could not be a presenter. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

(THE NEW PAPER) - Local broadcaster Mediacorp is investigating claims by a producer that inappropriate remarks were directed at her on Tuesday (Oct 3).

Miss Park Juwon has alleged that a male colleague referred to a part of her body as the reason that she could not be a presenter.

He also allegedly told her "girls shouldn't be too smart for their own good" and that she should "act dumb".

On Wednesday (Oct 4) evening, the producer of Money Mind on Channel NewsAsia uploaded on her Facebook page screenshots of their WhatsApp exchanges in which she confronted him.

After noting his alleged comments to her, she wrote: "I think most people would find your words very sexist, belittling and distasteful.

"You can say they are jokes. But it is really an insult to all the hard work I've put in to get here."

The colleague replied that his comments were "meant as a joke" and that "it's how the industry works".

He apologised twice, and added: "It was just industry talk on my side. I was not intentionally being rude or sexist."

Miss Park has since taken down the post, which was captioned "Sexism in 2017".

In a later post, she said the incident was not a one-off, and when she shared her concerns with her male and female co-workers, she was told that she needed to "get used to this".

Miss Park told TNP on Wednesday that she was standing in front of a light and, noticing how bright it was, remarked that she felt like a presenter.

That was when her colleague allegedly mentioned her physical attributes, and she told him he was being sexist.

Explaining what motivated her to upload their WhatsApp conversation, she said: "I cannot justify my job if I can't even speak up for myself."

Responding to queries by TNP, a Mediacorp spokesman yesterday said Miss Park told her supervisor about the incident on Wednesday.

The spokesman said her supervisor "immediately asked her to provide full details to assist in the investigation.

"Mediacorp does not condone sexism in the workplace. We take a very serious view to the matter and are investigating," said the spokesman, adding there had been no previous complaint against Miss Park's co-worker.

A spokesman for the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices told TNP that workplace discrimination cannot be condoned.

He said: "In instances where sexist comments are made or where there is sexual harassment, the employee should bring the matter to the attention of the HR or management via the organisation's grievance handling procedure.

"If it is serious, the employee may wish to also lodge a police report under POHA (Protection from Harassment Act)."

Human resource expert Paul Heng underscored the importance of reporting inappropriate behaviour.

The NeXT Career Consulting Group managing director said that people should not allow co-workers to get away with such remarks, adding: "The buck stops with each of us."

Ms Jolene Tan, the Association of Women for Action and Research's head of advocacy and research, said focused efforts from employers are key to tackling workplace harassment.

"Employers serious about creating inclusive and respectful environments need to implement specific anti-harassment procedures and conduct relevant training for their workers," she said.

Mediacorp said it will interview Miss Park when she returns from leave on Monday and will investigate before taking appropriate actions.

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