BFM, Malaysia’s well-known radio outlet for business news and a liberally slanted ethos, has found themselves in the headlines over the weekend after an email regarding alleged sexual misconduct at the station.
Members of the media, including Coconuts KL and mainstream outlets like The Star and Malay Mail, late last week received an anonymous email detailing allegations of sexually charged incidents the writer says have been ignored by the station. By Saturday, many individuals working in media had been forwarded the contents of the email in full via WhatsApp, and the inflammatory claims became topics of chatter on social media.
Station founder Malek Ali quickly got in front of things, issuing a press statement acknowledging that they were aware of the letter, its contents, and that BFM was taking the situation very seriously, and would be conducting a thorough internal investigation.
“We are committed to providing a safe environment in which all members of our community can work without fear and threat of sexual harassment. At this juncture, we are unable to confirm any of the situations described,” he added.
Just what was in the letter to make Malek sit straight up in his chair, and tell the public about claims that hadn’t quite hit the headlines, and also technically had no police reports or hard evidence to back them up?
Well, there were many accusations, including the overarching theme that not only were there insufficient channels to report sexual harassment, but that claims were not taken seriously in-house, and certain individuals protected.
“Predatory culture is widespread in the station,” the person wrote, adding that a popular figure at the station was not only known for sending unsolicited after-work messages to other female employees, but that the person also messaged the letter writer and “repeatedly texted me about my dressing, once saying that I looked “fuckable.”
Another station figure was labeled as a “known sexual harasser,” who allegedly stalked two women.
Most troublingly, the email detailed the rape of a woman at an office party by another employee, concluding that “the station didn’t do anything to protect this woman, and simply fired the man.”
Concluding that the liberal agenda made it difficult to get women’s NGOs to believe them, they added that “the liberal circle is protective of each other,” without elaborating on exactly what they meant by that.
Twitterjaya (Twitterville) has been alive this fine morning, adding their two cents. Many figures, including journalists and media coalition, are taking a mostly measured stance, asking for a thorough investigation so that justice is served – either in vindicating victims, or absolving the accused.
Others wondered whether an internal audit is sufficient enough of a measure to conduct an unbiased investigation.
And then there were others who seemed to expect more from a station that has consistently positioned themselves as a more woke platform than other media outlets. Which is cute until you listen and realize that half the time it’s just people nattering on with “facts” that haven’t always been checked for veracity.
We’ll keep you posted on this developing story.