Two Channel 7 stars pulled into the sex scandal
CHANNEL Seven has taken urgent legal action to protect two of its network stars who have become embroiled in the sex scandal that struck the network following revelations of CEO Tim Worner's affair with a former employee.
The network has been in damage control this week after former executive assistant Amber Harrison launched a media offensive against the Seven West Media boss sharing sordid details of the pair's two-year affair and allegations of drug use and additional affairs with news outlets.
Seven has issued an admission and apology from Mr Worner over the affair, and denied he had inappropriate relationships with four other women named by Ms Harrison in legal documents.
But now, after a website published the names of two of the women alleged to have had dalliances with the married executive, who are among the network's most high profile female stars, Seven has lawyered up.
Following the publication of the women's names and excerpts of legal documents containing the claims, Seven lawyers wrote to the publication to request the names be removed, and launched defamation action after the publisher failed to comply.
In court documents, the women are referred to as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.
Lawyers for Seven claim say the allegedly defamatory material carries imputations that both women have "have been in an adulterous relationship with Tim Worner, CEO of Seven West Media", and that each had "behaved disgracefully in that she had an affair with a man she knew to be married".
In documents submitted to the Supreme Court, lawyers for Seven claim as a result of publication the women have been "brought into hatred" and have "suffered and continue to suffer loss and damage to their reputation and injury to their feelings".
The matter will be in the Supreme Court of NSW on Friday.
The defamation action is only the latest chapter in the saga, which started when Ms Harrison approached media with details of the relationship and her subsequent breakdown earlier this week.
Her decision to speak out came after years of "complex" severance negotiations failed to deliver a $350,000 pay out she believed to be entitled to following her 2014 redundancy which followed an investigation into the former Seven employee's corporate credit card use.
The investigation, carried out by Deloitte Australia, identified tens of thousands of dollars in charged to Ms Harrison's credit card describe as "likely unauthorised personal expenditure" including international flights, luxury hotels and flowers for relatives and friends, the Daily Telegraph has reported.
According to the Telegraph, the 2014 report alleges Ms Harrison used both her and her manager Nick Chan's corporate cards for the benefit of herself and those she was close to, including a man identified as her boyfriend. Offending expenses included an expenditure of $2238 for accommodation at The Upper House, one of the most expensive hotels in Hong Kong.
Ms Harrison addressed the investigation to misuse of her credit card in a statement sent to media on Sunday night saying she refused to resign over the issue, and later repaid $14,000 of credit card debt "after successfully proving her Visa card was regularly used by others" to pay for various corporate events, travel, gifts and lunches.
In an email sent to all staff at Seven, Mr Worner yesterday apologised for "unwelcome attention" received after his scandalous affair was made public.
"Without reservation, I apologise to you all," Mr Worner wrote on Thursday before signing off with "onwards".
"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."
Mr Worner has admitted to the affair, but in his email claimed allegations made against him were "factually incorrect".
"But guess what, that doesn't matter anymore," he wrote.
"The one thing I am not doing is making excuses. I obviously regret it and most of all I regret the unwelcome attention it has brought to the company and my family."
Seven yesterday announced it would launch an independent investigation into the scandal.
In a statement to shareholders, the Seven West Media board said a fresh inquiry was necessary to "establish all the facts".