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Channel 4 has hit back at “unsubstantiated and false” accusations of a toxic working environment made by ten ethnic minority former employees.

Chief executive Alex Mahon has emailed staff in the wake of a Times report last Thursday that outlined the claims, including a settlement deal signed by an ex-staff member who had made a racial discrimination complaint.

The woman alleged that white colleagues were favoured for promotion and highlighted “systemic cultural issues” at C4 that led to the exclusion of staff from diverse backgrounds from senior management roles.

Mahon said she was “saddened” by the claims and C4 said in a statement that the row did a “disservice” to the broadcaster’s inclusivity efforts.

“There is always more that any company can do in this field, and Channel 4 is no exception to that,” the broadcaster said. “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.”

Mahon echoed that sentiment in her email, promising to “listen to, analyse and act of feedback you give us”.

C4 has a target of 20% of its working force coming from an ethnically diverse background by next year. While the figure currently stands at 18%, some 23% of hires in the last year are from an ethnically diverse background.

Soon after Mahon joined in 2017, she commissioned independent research undertaken with Caerus Executive after she joined in 2017 that found a “significant need for change” in the company’s progression, retention, recruitment and culture.

Other initiatives to diverse its workforce include a partnership with the Black Business Association and last year’s Black to Front project.

 

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