Sacked KIIS FM employee John Caldwell has filed a lawsuit against the Australian Radio Network (ARN) following his abrupt departure from the network last month.
The former Celeb HQ host launched legal action with the Fair Work Commission this week, claiming he was ‘discriminated against for being gay’ during his employment.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday, Caldwell claimed he had ‘repeatedly complained’ about ‘verbal attacks’ and accused management of ‘bullying’ and ‘permitting an homophobic culture’.
It’s war! Sacked KIIS FM host John ‘JC’ Caldwell (pictured) has filed a lawsuit against ARN claiming he ‘endured years of bullying’ and was ‘discriminated against for being gay’
In the statement, Caldwell alleged that he had ‘endured years of bullying at ARN’ which had even made him ‘feel suicidal at times’.
While working for KIIS FM, he claimed he was berated by staff members with phrases like, ‘You’re a homo’, ‘poofter’ and ‘f**king f****t’.
‘He repeatedly complained about these issues to management, saying he would need to leave if they were not addressed,’ it was further claimed in the statement.
Caldwell, who also appears as a media commentator on Studio 10, claimed that he believed an incident in October between himself and another KIIS FM employee was the cause of his dismissal.
The statement mentioned an alleged incident at the ACRAs where he claimed to have been the subject of ‘an aggressive verbal homophobic attack’ by a colleague.
‘Mr Caldwell repeatedly complained about these issues to his managers, saying he would need to leave if they were not addressed. After Mr. Caldwell escalated the seriousness of his complaints, he was sacked by ARN in October after an alleged complaint from another KIIS FM employee,’ the statement alleged.
KIIS FM’S flagship breakfast program, The Kyle And Jackie O Show, was also named in the statement.
‘Despite his numerous complaints to ARN, nothing meaningful was done to address his issues,’ it continued. ‘A senior executive regularly used words to him to the effect of, “We just don’t upset the KJ [Kyle and Jackie O Show] machine. If you’ve got a problem, we can find a workaround, but we never upset the KJ machine.”‘
Earlier this month Private Sydney reported the entertainment reporter had left the station following an alleged incident regarding ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
(Pictured: Celeb HQ producer Mitch Churi and John Caldwell at 2018 Logies)
The publication wrote that the alleged incident involved another employee at a work-related event, now believed to be the ACRAs (Australian Commercial Radio Awards).
An ARN spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday: ‘ARN are not aware of any proceedings commenced against KIIS FM or ARN by John Caldwell, and will rigorously defend any claims if they commence.’
‘John Caldwell’s contract was ended in October. Due to privacy reasons we don’t comment on individual contracts however John was given the reasons for his contract ending.’
‘ARN prides itself on its passionate work in the area of diversity and inclusion, particularly with LGBTQI initiatives and the broader community.’
A Fair Work Commission spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia broadly on Wednesday that: ‘Applications made to the Commission by individuals are private and no information is available to third parties.This includes cases alleging unfair dismissal, general protections breaches or workplace bullying.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted John Caldwell and ARN for further comment.
‘A senior executive regularly used words to him to the effect of “We just don’t upset the KJ [Kyle & Jackie] machine”‘: Shock jock Kyle Sandilands’ top-rating Kyle And Jackie ‘O’ show was also named in the statement
According to Sydney Morning Herald, John filed the papers in Sydney on Tuesday via his council at Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
Interestingly the firm was behind former David Jones public relations executive Kristy Fraser-Kirk’s received $850,000 settlement after she accused her former high-flying executive boss Mark McInnes, of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ in 2010.
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