A former KIIS FM host is taking legal action against the Australian Radio Network (ARN), detailing a string of explosive allegations involving his old employer.
John “JC” Caldwell had reportedly been let go by ARN after alleged inappropriate behaviour towards another staff member at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) last month.
However, the former co-host of KIIS FM evening show Celeb HQ has filed a case with the Fair Work Commission against ARN and others for “bullying, permitting an homophobic culture, discrimination due to him being gay and for his sacking”.
According to a statement issued by AMC Media, Caldwell repeatedly complained about these issues to his managers, saying he would need to leave if they were not addressed.
“After Mr Caldwell escalated the seriousness of his complaints, he was sacked by ARN in October after an alleged complaint from another KIIS FM employee,” the statement read.
“He was not told any details of the complaint and was at no stage interviewed or asked for his side of the story.”
The statement said Caldwell now believes that an incident at the ACRAs between himself and a fellow KIIS FM employee was the cause of his dismissal.
“In that incident, John was subject to an aggressive verbal homophobic attack by the fellow employee,” it said.
“That verbal attack included words to the effect of ‘You’re a homo’, ‘poofter’, ‘fucking faggot’ and ‘I’m not a fucking faggot’. Later the same evening, the aggressive verbal attack was continued by the fellow employee.
“Prior to his sacking, and shortly after the ACRAs, Mr Caldwell made a complaint about the homophobic verbal attack he had been subjected to.”
Caldwell alleges that he has endured years of bullying at ARN that had caused him to feel suicidal at times.
“Despite his numerous complaints to ARN, nothing meaningful was done to address his issues,” the statement said.
“A senior executive regularly used words to him to the effect of “We just don’t upset the [Kyle & Jackie O] machine. If you’ve got a problem, we can find a workaround, but we never upset the KJ machine.”
In response to Caldwell’s allegations, an ARN spokesperson told B&T that it was unaware of any proceedings commenced against KIIS FM or ARN by the former employee, and will “rigorously defend any claims if they commence”.
“John Caldwell’s contract was ended in October. Due to privacy reasons we don’t comment on individual contracts however John was given the reasons for his contract ending,” the spokesperson said.
“ARN prides itself on its passionate work in the area of diversity and inclusion, particularly with LGBTQI initiatives and the broader community.”