Labor MP Emma Husar has commenced defamation proceedings against online news site Buzzfeed and journalist Alice Workman for an article that she said contained ‘slut-shaming’ smears.
An emotional Husar told parliament today that she was only given a chance to respond to allegations made in the article one minute after it had been published.
“I had no chance to refute, nor respond,” she said.
Husar said Buzzfeed had reported that she had bragged about her sexual relations, sexually harassed an employee and exposed herself to a colleague and his infant son.
“I am not a bully, I am not Sharon Stone, I am not a thief and I did not deliberately misuse my work expenses,” she said.
The Sharon Stone comment was a reference to the famous sexually graphic scene in the movie Basic Instinct the Hollywood actress is famous for.
The Sharon Stone allegation was just one of 44 complaints about Ms Husar’s workplace conduct that were investigated by barrister John Whelan on behalf of the Labor party earlier this year.
They included swearing at staff, demanding excessive work hours, bullying and employing her nanny in her electorate office.
Mr Whelan found a small number of the complaints relating to workplace behaviour were substantiated.
His report concluded that Ms Husar’s staff had been “subjected to unreasonable management including unreasonable communications, demands, practices and disciplinary methods”.
He did not find the allegation about the Sharon Stone move was substantiated.
What happens next
Husar says she has lodged the legal action in the Federal Court against Buzzfeed and Ms Workman.
She announced she would quit politics in August following the internal investigation, but has since changed her mind, arguing she was the victim of lies by former staff and now want to stay in the job.
Earlier this week she suggested that she could move to the crossbench which would see her re-contest her western Sydney seat as an independent next year.
What the experts say
Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims said Ms Husar was clearly a difficult boss.
“I think all this Sharon Stone slut shaming stuff is a smoke screen – don’t forget what the independent investigation found,” he said.
“There were substantiated complaints made against her, including that she had bullied staff and subjected them to unreasonable management action – and that is grounds for an employee to make a WorkCover claim for psychological injury.”
If you have experienced sexual harassment or workplace bullying, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call our team at Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
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