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Amy Taeuber fights back against Adelaide knuckle-draggers

By Malcolm King - posted Monday, 9 October 2017

It's important to take a look and see just how far feminism has come since the days of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer.

I have no background in feminist history or theory but the recent sacking of Amy Taeuber, a 27-year old TV journalism cadet in the Channel Seven newsroom in Adelaide, piqued my interest.

I have long contended that Adelaide has a 'unique' business culture. While many espouse the principles of equity, disclosure and social justice, when something goes wrong, they act more like the Stasi.


I also contend that Adelaide's brain drain over the last 40 years has reached a critical stage. Adelaide's larger organisations such as SA Health, TAFE SA, the SA Department of Child Protection and DECD, are rupturing under the strain of their own contradictions.

The so-called drive for productivity (a much over used word) or worse 'excellence', has produced a tribe of under educated bullies who strut the corridors of power like Flashman of old. The brains trust left for Melbourne and Sydney 20 or 30 years ago.

The Amy Taeuber case is curious because it is sexual prejudice in its most raw form. It is a prime example why the second wave of the feminist movement rose in the early 1960s.

In March 2016, Ms Taeuber, 27, had been chatting with her sister Sophie Taeuber, who was also employed by Seven, at the network's Adelaide office.

According to court documents, Rodney Lohse, 47, a Today Tonight reporterapproached the pair and said to Amy Taeuber: "one in three women are lesbians, therefore (Amy) must be a lesbian as she is a triplet".

Amy Taeuber found the comments offensive and humiliating but her complaints were dismissed by the newsroom editor. That was mistake number one.


The girls' mother, Linda Taeuber, has since claimed there were other incidents. Mr Lohse had allegedly made comments comparing the sisters' looks and suggested 27 was "over the hill" for a woman in TV.

Amy Taeuber made an official complaint in April last year. In the weeks that followed, she became the target of what she claimed was a 'retaliatory' investigation where she was accused of bullying a fellow journalism cadet, who was and remains a close friend.

The bullying allegation was unfounded. It had nothing to do with the sexual discrimination matter.

Channel Seven trawled through Amy's social media account and found footage of her taking part with one of her sisters, in a satirical send up of My Kitchen Rules, a Channel Seven Production.

In July 2016 she was dismissed for "serious misconduct", but sued the network asserting her sacking was because of her original harassment complaint against Mr Lohse and not a send up of a cooking show.

The alleged wrongful dismissal suit was settled out of court in a confidential agreement in February this year. Mr Lohse faced no consequences over the harassment allegations although he made a public apology.

He is currently working for Channel Seven's Today Tonight in Brisbane.

Amy Taeuber lost her job.

In a recent statement, Channel Seven said, "There was an investigation into alleged breaches of Amy Taeuber's employment contract. Seven's HR team did not try to build any case against her and their investigation was not related to any complaint made by Amy about other staff."

The problem was Channel Seven only started looking for 'evidence' to be used against her after she has raised the Lohse comment matter. Why would they do that? She had ruffled feathers. Noses had got out of joint. Sound like she would have made an excellent reporter.

Amy's story was catapulted back into the headlines most recently when ABC's 7.30 broadcast audio recordingsof a telephone-on-speaker meeting she had with Channel Seven's HR manager.

Amy was told at the meeting that she was not allowed to have a senior staff member in the room as a witness (another mistake) and to hand over her phone and ID card.

She was not permitted to log out of her computer or off her private accounts, including Facebook, before it was seized by the company. All because of a satirical skit? I think not.

It sounds like bulldust doesn't it? So not only had a large news gathering organisation – which has had its own problems at the most senior executive levels – side against the young reporter, they concocted a post facto explanation to try knit some extraordinary loose ends together.

Gloria Steinem said that, "Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood."

Amy Taeuber has her two sisters for support but she has more than that. She stood up to a corporation of hackneyed 'yes sayers' and bullies and told them to stick it. She has guts and guts is enough.

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About the Author

Malcolm King works in generational workforce change. He was an associate director at DEEWR Labour Market Strategy in Canberra and the senior communications strategist at Carnegie Mellon University. He also runs a professional writing business called Republic.

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