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Weta Digital staff dispute claims the company has cracked down on misconduct

The culture at Weta Digital will "probably never change", a current staff member claims after the company told 1 NEWS it's cracked down on misconduct.

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More employees came forward today after a 1 NEWS story outlining allegations of sexism, bullying and a long-running porn mailing list. Source: 1 NEWS

Last night, 1 NEWS revealed allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and long-running pornographic mailing lists at the Oscar-winning company.

Weta Digital told 1 NEWS it's aware of "historical behavioural issues" and the company has changed.

It said the complaints "do not reflect the Weta Digital of today", but a current staff member disputes that.

"The company regularly sweeps allegations of harassment by higher management away all the time," the staff member says.

"Several of the upper management need to be let go after multiple misconduct incidents going on, viewed by many, that just have been swept away.

"This becoming mainstream news will not make anything change."

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'World's most beautiful toxic waste dump' - Weta Digital employees claim sexism, bullying and harassment

He's one of multiple current staff, and staff who have left within the last three years, who've recently had issues at the company.

"I can tell you that the HR spin is total bulls***," a man who left recently says.

He and two others spoke of an incident in 2018, in which an inappropriate post was shared company-wide by a senior manager. 

The former staff say when there was backlash, the HR department claimed the manager had been hacked.

"Everyone at Weta knew it was a cover-up because if his emails were hacked we would have a really serious problem, but the story was never mentioned again," a current staffer says.

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One employee described the Oscar-winning visual effects company as “the world’s most beautiful toxic waste dump”. Source: 1 NEWS

Another former staffer says the post was a "a doozy", and the claim of a hack at a company where security audits are regularly conducted by Hollywood studios "makes no sense".

"They also took the time to remind everybody of how important security was to the company and that they were investigating the breach. Nobody bought it."

Another spoke of her disappointment in HR's response.

"Instead of owning up to it and apologising, HR comes out to shut it down and protect people. It happens all the time," she says.

Claims about who in the company knew about long-running porn mailing lists, which are said to have been shut down in 2015, are also being questioned. 

Weta Digital told 1 NEWS the lists were shut down "as soon as it was brought to management's attention". 

A former staff member says that's not true, and the mailing lists were openly discussed for years, including among management, before they were allegedly shut down in 2015.

"All of management knew it was there, it was hosted. Senior managers would subscribe to the porn.

"One senior manager mentioned that he knew about it in a joke way, saying that he was subscribed too."

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Others have come forward to talk about complaints of bullying and harassment being swept under the carpet within the last three years.

One says multiple female colleagues left in 2019 due to feeling harassed and not supported.

"I'm still working through feelings likened to that of a toxic, confidence-blowing relationship. It was awful. Big egos in senior roles who didn't know how to communicate with people or manage at all," she says.

Another man says persistent bullying from a senior colleague at Weta Digital had a major impact on his mental health.

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Weta Workshop is investigating after a sexual harrassment complaint by a former staffer, but others says the issues run far deeper.

"Eventually I brought this matter up with my head of department and he told me to 'grow a thicker skin'... I had a mental breakdown and moved back to my hometown where I recovered my health and received therapy for a year."

Weta Digital did not respond to multiple requests for comment today. Yesterday it said in a statement all concerns are taken "very seriously".

"Weta Digital now has comprehensive policies and procedures for supporting staff so they can come forward freely with any concerns or complaints," a spokesperson says.

"These can be reported to their manager, HR, our volunteer Crew Advocates or an anonymous HR email address.

"There is no room for inappropriate behaviour of any kind, within the company."

Do you have more information about this story? Contact our reporter Kristin Hall at kristin.hall@tvnz.co.nz