Employees at the network’s Sydney headquarters will have to make do with a quiet lunch in its suburban offices instead of a proper knees-up inside one of the city’s flash licensed premises.
Staff have been told alcohol will not be supplied at the Macquarie Park newsroom, from where most of Sky’s programming is broadcast.
A TV insider said staff felt ripped-off to miss out on a traditional festive celebration and blamed it on management’s response to Smith’s drunken antics at last year’s bash, which led to his sacking.
‘People are furious,’ the insider said. ‘[Smith] is gone and they are still being punished.
‘It’s absolute bulls***.’
Staff at Sky News Australia have been told their Christmas party has been cancelled after former colleague Chris Smith disgraced himself at last year’s celebrations. Laura Jayes (left), Sharri Markson (middle) and Ashleigh Gillon are pictured at Sky’s 2022 festive function
Sky News Australia did not respond to inquiries about whether this year’s subdued Christmas event was due to Smith’s performance in 2022, or whether it will be alcohol-free.
‘We have not cancelled Christmas celebrations,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘This year we are celebrating Christmas by having state-based events for our newsrooms and bureaus.’
Sky’s last big annual blowout was held on December 10 at the Justin Hemmes-run Ivy Sunroom on George Street in the central business district.
The then 60-year-old presenter made offensive comments to one young female colleague and touched another on the bottom after a group moved on from Ivy to the nearby Establishment.
Smith, who blamed his conduct on bipolar disorder and alcoholism, apologised for his drunken actions but was sacked by Sky CEO Paul Whittaker three days later.
Whittaker said Smith had been fired ‘as a result of inappropriate behaviour that is in breach of his contract and company policy’.
‘We continue to offer support to affected staff members whose welfare remains our primary concern,’ Whittaker said.
Smith, who blamed his beheaviour at last year’s Christmas party on bipolar disorder and alcoholism, apologised for his conduct but was sacked by Sky CEO Paul Whittaker
Sky News Australia’s Christmas party was held last year at Ivy (above) in Sydney’s central business district. This year there will be a lunch in the network’s suburban offices
Whittaker’s statement came the same day News Corp Australia boss Michael Miller called on staff to behave themselves at Christmas get-togethers.
In an email to all employees Miller reminded the company’s 8,000 employees to treat each other with respect at ‘formal and informal’ gatherings and warned ‘inappropriate behaviour has consequences’.
Smith was also removed from his radio role as a 2GB weekend presenter after the Sky Christmas party.
The Saturday event at Ivy followed two nights of end-of-year celebrations for senior employees at the News Corp-owned Sky network.
On Thursday night, Smith had attended News chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s famous Christmas drinks at the billionaire’s eastern suburbs mansion.
The next evening he joined fellow Sky presenters Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi, Paul Murray, Laura Jayes and Chris Kenny as well as Whittaker for an intimate dinner at Aria restaurant.
Sky host Rita Panahi showed off the booze-loaded bar at last year’s Sky Christmas party, with its shelves lined with spirits and bottles of wines, and glasses covering the counter
The official Sky Christmas party kicked off at midday on Saturday and wound up about 5pm. Smith left the remaining revellers at Establishment by 7.30pm.
Sky presenters including Panahi and Jaynie Seal shared pictures and footage from the first venue on Instagram.
Panahi posted clips showing two female colleagues giggling as they danced on either side of Outsiders co-host James Morrow to Latto’s hit song Big Energy.
Seal shared footage of herself taking selfies in front of a Sky News media wall with Sarah Kazzi and Morrow as they danced around Ivy Sunroom.
Panahi also showed off the booze-loaded bar, with its shelves lined with spirits and bottles of wines, and glasses covering the counter.
Prior to Saturday’s shindig, Sky’s general manager of human resources Kath Butler had sent out a memo reminding staff to behave responsibly while drinking.
‘This is a work event so please be respectful of others as you do when in the office,’ the memo said.
Smith had a well-known history of misbehaviour while intoxicated at work functions including 2GB’s 2009 Christmas party and a farewell while at Nine’s A Current Affair in 1998.
In the days after last year’s Christmas disgrace some of Smith’s on-air colleagues got stuck into him. An attack by Bolt during his program lasted more than three minutes.
‘Every organisation has people who behave badly,’ Bolt told viewers.
‘We’re judged not by the fact that we have one as well, you’re judged by how you react to what they do. And I say to Chris, good luck, but goodbye.’
Panahi said Smith should never work for the network again after the way he made ‘a number of women feel’ at the party.
Smith’s longtime 2GB colleague Ray Hadley was on holidays but made time to call stand-in morning host Mark Levy.
‘I don’t think [Smith] should ever return to a network,’ Hadley said.
‘I’d be very surprised if he ever returns to anywhere ever again, and I’d say the radio and the TV industry won’t be poorer for him leaving it.
‘It’ll be much better for him leaving it. So good riddance to bad rubbish.’
Smith now presents an afternoon program on international digital talk station TNT Radio five days a week and has not had a drink for 11 months.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk