Chris Smith attended a News Corp dinner on Sydney Harbour the night before he outraged several woman with his drunken behaviour at the Sky News Christmas party last weekend.
Smith made lewd comments which brought a female colleagues to tears at the Sky News shindig, with one co-worker striking him due to his offensive conduct.
The 60-year-old approached a woman and creepily commented about one of her Instagram photos from a holiday, saying she ‘had a lot of side boob going on’.
Smith was one of a handful of guests at an intimate Sky function at Aria restaurant on Friday night, less than 24 hours before the network’s end of year bash.
Last Thursday night Smith had also been at News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s eastern suburbs mansion for the billionaire’s own Christmas drinks.
Chris Smith attended a News Corp dinner on Sydney Harbour last Thursday, the night before his now infamous drunken behaviour at the Sky News Christmas party. He is pictured last Thursday at News co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s harbourside mansion
Smith’s big week included a Sky News Christmas party at Ivy in Sydney’s central business district (above, stock image) on Saturday afternoon before he was among a group to move to nearby Establishment
Sky News is owned by News Corp, as are the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs.
The Aria dinner is the missing event in three days of partying sponsored by News Corp, which finally sacked Smith from Sky on Tuesday afternoon.
Several sources have confirmed Smith was among senior staff, including Sky News hosts, who dined at the Matt Moran-run eatery.
Smith left the restaurant about 11pm after four hours, while others are believed to have continued until 4am.
Presenters Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi, Paul Murray, Laura Jayes, Chris Kenny, Sky CEO Paul Whittaker and head of programs Mark Calvert were among those to attend.
Also present was Siobhan McKenna, News Corp’s group director of broadcasting, director of Nova Entertainment and one of Murdoch’s closest confidantes.
Smith was due to be given his own daily 5pm show on Sky News before the events of last weekend.
Smith left Aria (above, stock image) about 11pm after four hours, while others are believed to have continued until 4am. Presenters Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi, Paul Murray, Laura Jayes, Chris Kenny and Sky CEO Paul Whittaker were among those to attend the dinner
Paul Whittaker said in a statement on Tuesday that Smith had been fired ‘as a result of inappropriate behaviour that is in breach of his contract and company policy’.
Chris Smith’s three days on the drink
Thursday, December 8: Smith attends Lachlan Murdoch’s evening Christmas drinks at his Bellevue Hill mansion
Friday, December 9: Smith attends a Sky News dinner for hosts and station management at Aria restaurant at Circular Quay (7pm-11pm)
Saturday, December 10: Smith attends Sky News Christmas party at Ivy Sunroom in the CBD. Function starts at midday. Continues nearby at Establishment and leaves 7.30pm
Smith has a history of alcohol-fuelled misconduct at work functions which was well-known to News Corp when it gave him a slot on Sky News.
After being suspended by 2GB for allegedly harassing four women at the radio station’s 2009 Christmas party Smith apologised for his behaviour in a prominent story in the The Sunday Telegraph.
Smith was accused of exposing himself to several women, trying to kiss a female co-worker and assaulting then-Network 10 weather presenter, Magdalena Roze.
At the time, Smith told The Sunday Telegraph the incident had destroyed his family and could ruin his broadcasting career.
Smith had previously been fired from his role as producer at Nine Network’s A Current Affair after exposing himself at a farewell party in the late 1990s.
After the 2GB soiree Smith admitted to having been drunk on champagne and red wine and said he had also taken the ‘the wrong antidepressants’.
He was soon back at 2GB where he has recently been a weekend presenter as well as regular fill-in announcer, on top of hosting a Sunday night show on Sky News.
Smith was pulled from the airwaves by Sky and 2GB after his conduct at the network’s Christmas party was exposed. 2GB was first to sack him.
Nine’s Managing Director of Radio, Tom Malone said: ‘Chris’ behaviour represents a serious breach of his contract, and is not aligned with the values of 2GB.’
Chris Smith has been sacked by Sky News Australia and radio station 2GB due to his offensive conduct after a Sky News Christmas party last Saturday. His wife Susie Burrell, mother of his twin sons, left the family home on Sunday
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Smith apologised for his behaviour and announced he had checked himself into a mental health facility.
‘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.’
Smith blamed the events on bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction, saying ‘I have a recurring problem with alcohol… it sends me manic’.
He had joined colleagues at Sky News’s end of year celebrations at Ivy Sunroom in Sydney’s central business district which began about about 12pm on Saturday.
When that formal event concluded in the afternoon, a group including Smith moved nearby to Establishment.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Smith apologised for his behaviour and announced he had checked himself into a mental health facility. ‘I am beyond gutted and devastated to know I have upset my colleagues after our Christmas party,’ Smith said
It is there Smith was accused of touching a young female co-worker, making lewd comments and acting inappropriately towards several other female colleagues.
One woman said Smith referred to her Instagram posts when he made offensive remarks.
‘The photo wasn’t a recent one so he’s gone through them all,’ she said. ‘He’s also made one young, innocent woman cry with his comments.
‘He was called out for his behaviour, which was especially appalling given the number of young women who work there.
‘He’s also been to three work-related function in three days, all with alcohol involved, despite previously saying he’s got a problem with grog. It’s unbelievable.’
Smith reportedly left Establishment about 7.30pm.
Prior to the Saturday’s event, Sky’s general manager of HR Kath Butler sent out a memo reminding Sky News colleagues to behave responsibly at the function.
‘This is a work event so please be respectful of others as you do when in the office,’ the memo stated.
Since Smith’s behaviour at Establishment became public knowledge several high-profile Sky figures have come out to attack him.
Rita Panahi said Smith should never work for the network again while Laura Jayes posted ‘Good riddance’ on Instagram with a link to Andrew Bolt’s scathing assessment.
Bolt called for the suspended broadcaster to be sacked during a segment lasting more than three minutes on his Sky program on Monday night.
‘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.’
Smith’s 2GB colleague Ray Hadley, who is on holidays, went hardest when he called the station to speak with Mark Levy, his summer replacement.
‘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.’
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