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Channel 4 has been accused of having a ‘toxic’ working environment after an ex-employee claims she was made to sign a gagging order after complaining about racial discrimination.
Ten ex-employees made similar claims after a woman says she was prevented from commenting on a grievance about the management regime.
She had made a series of allegations relating to race, including a complaint about white colleagues being favoured for promotion.
The woman claimed Channel 4 had systemic cultural issues, resulting in diverse employees feeling ‘left out in the cold’ by management.
Other former employees, who are supporting her claims, said they had been proud to join a broadcaster that claims to celebrate diversity but were let down.
Among the complaints that have surfaced include claims that white executives ignored pleas to scrap plans for a programme in which Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt lived with an African tribe.
The former employee had made a series of allegations relating to race, including a complaint about white colleagues being favoured for promotion
There have also been complaints of ‘microaggressions’, a term used for commonplace daily slights.
The claims, first revealed by The Times, come as the Government proceeds with plans to privatise the state-owned broadcaster.
Channel 4 has strongly defended itself, insisting that it does not use staff gagging orders.
It reportedly said the woman’s confidential agreement contained clauses that allowed her to speak of serious wrongdoing, including racial discrimination, but that she chose not to, fearing it could harm her career.
However a spokesman for the station said: ‘Channel 4 does not use non-disclosure agreements except in relation to commercial matters only and never in respect to staff.
‘Our standard settlement agreements, while including a confidentiality clause, do not and should never prevent individuals from raising issues of serious wrongdoing that require investigation.’
Other sources have nevertheless claimed the ‘toxic’ culture is widespread throughout the company.
A former insider claimed: ‘Channel 4 is a really weird place. On the face of it, it’s cool, liberal, Left-wing and hip and happening, but at its core, it’s f****** rotten.’
Former ethnic minority staff also claimed their careers stalled while white colleagues were given better opportunities.
Channel 4’s top three executives and entire board are white.
Last night a spokesman for the broadcaster said: ‘Ultimately, these unsubstantiated and false claims of a “toxic culture” do a serious disservice to the inclusive culture that every member of staff contributes to and which results in award-winning programmes that represent and celebrate the rich diversity of the UK.
‘There is always more that any company can do in this field, and Channel 4 is no exception to that.
‘We continue to actively listen to our staff, both making changes to empower them, and creating opportunities so they can develop their skills and progress in their careers.’
Source: Daily Mail