Former and current male employees of beleaguered tourist attraction Sovereign Hill have stepped forward to support the testimonies of their female colleagues about allegations of sexual harassment.
Despite a warning from CEO Jeremy Johnson at an all staff meeting held on Thursday morning that speaking to media was a breach of Sovereign Hill’s code of conduct, The Courier conducted interviews with several employees past and present who corroborated accusations made by female staff, and spoke of a culture of sexism and misogyny among some of the male employees.
The Courier understands an employee present at the meeting asked Mr Johnson, “How can I walk down the street in my uniform now? People will think I could be the guy,” referring to Employee X.
One former employee said management at the museum was a ‘boys’ club’, where dealing with actual cultural change at Sovereign Hill was ignored in preference to ‘statements that portrayed Sovereign Hill in a good public light,’ such as photo opportunities for White Ribbon Day, where commitment to change was not measurable.
You gotta watch that guySovereign Hill employee on Employee X
He said the museum had a habit of targeting victims, who were seen as a nuisance, called into disciplinary hearings and blamed for the situations they found themselves in.
“It was purely about stopping the truth getting out; it happened on many occasions,” he said.
Another employee said the culture was ‘certainly misogynistic’, and had a hierarchy that was based not on merit but on, “who was there first, and for how long.”
READ MORE: Another Sovereign Hill victim comes forward
The staff member said he first heard about Employee X about two years ago, when he was at Sovereign Hill with another colleague who told him, “You gotta watch that guy.”
He was later present at a Sovereign Hill Christmas party where Employee X harassed the sister of a colleague. The colleague reported the incident, and was then allegedly disciplined for naming Employee X, and given a formal warning.
The staff member said in recent times efforts were being made to address the worser aspects of the culture at Sovereign Hill.
“Look - there are some genuine attempts being made by HR to break the culture: training in bullying and harassment and people being encouraged to report issues; some people are speaking up when unacceptable things are said,” he said.
“There’s a way to go. The smutty jokes, the unwanted attention, asking women to go out – that’s still there. But at least women will know now they can tell a man to back off.”