Scott Morrison apologises for sharing sexual harassment complaint during press conference

Scott Morrison apologises for sharing sexual harassment complaint during press conference

Scott Morrison apologises

The Prime Minister has apologised for publicly speaking out about an alleged sexual harassment complaint, during a heated exchange with a journalist at Tuesday’s press conference.

Morrison raised the matter in response to a question from Sky News journalist Andrew Clennell, who suggested that if Morrison were the CEO of a large company his job would be in question right now following a slew of sexual misconduct allegations.

Morrison told the journalist “You’re free to make those criticisms and to stand on a pedestal, but be careful”. Morrison said the journalist would be aware that right now, there’s a complaint with his employer’s HR department from a woman who says she was harassed in a bathroom.

The journalist’s employer Sky News said no such complaint exists. Sky News is owned by News Corp, which also says no such complaint exists.

Morrison put out a Facebook message late on Tuesday night, saying he was “wrong to raise it” and apologised “especially” to the individual he says is at the centre of the incident.

“I deeply regret my insensitive response to a question from a News Ltd journalist by making an anonymous reference to an incident at News Ltd that has been rejected by the company,” he wrote.

“I accept their account. I was wrong to raise it, the emotion of the moment is no excuse.

“I especially wish to apologise to the individual at the centre of the incident and others directly impacted. I had no right to raise this issue and especially without their permission.”

This apology was needed but particularly noteworthy: it’s a rare admission from Morrison.

During the press conference yesterday, he did not apologise for comments made following last week’s women’s March 4 Justice, in which he said he was proud to live in a country where such protesters are not “met with bullets” — given protests elsewhere in the world are.

Rather, Morrison acknowledged that his words may have come off as “offensive”.

He has not apologised for other ill-considered word choices, including that a conversation with his wife Jenny changed his perspective on the rape allegations raised by Brittany Higgins.

During Tuesday’s press conference, and following a long speech by Morrison on how he’d been “listening” to women, the PM told Clennell that:

“Right now, you would be aware that in your own organisation that there is a person who has had a complaint made against them for harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet and that matter is being pursued by your own HR department,” he said.

“So let’s not all of us who sit in glass houses here start getting into that.”

The words were angrily recieved by Clennell who later said on Sky News that they came across as a threat.

In a statement from News Corp regarding the allegation, executive chairman Michael Miller said it was “simply untrue”.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison was wrong today to claim an investigation is under way into a complaint accusing an employee of harassment against a woman in a female toilet.”

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