Sex Scandal Rocking Phoenix TV

Several U.S.-based employees and former employees of the private Hong Kong media company, Phoenix Television, are filing lawsuits against the company’s Washington D.C. bureau chief alleging sexual harassment. From Sina English:

The former workers alleged that Liu Zhengzhu, who was Phoenix’s bureau chief until late 2012, over eight years regularly tried to lure women into sex at work functions or hotels in Washington and New York.

[…] In incidents listed in the lawsuit, Liu was accused of assaulting an employee inside Phoenix’s Washington office and of going to a female employee’s home in an attempt to rape her.

[…]  Total damages could top $2 million in light of the number of employees allegedly affected and charges that the company did not prevent misconduct, said Lynne Bernabei, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. [Source]

USA today posted a privately recorded video from a victim, Anne, in which a man (allegedly Mr. Liu) talks to her in a sexually explicit way in an office setting despite her repeated requests to leave. Faces of both characters are not visible in the video:

Dana Liebelson at Mother Jones interviewed the plaintiffs and noted that they were allegedly subject to retaliation from the company’s executives:

The plaintiffs say that after Anne settled with Phoenix in the fall of 2012, Liu, in what would be his final months as bureau chief, began to retaliate against Phoenix employees who had agreed to serve as witnesses for her EEOC complaint. According to the lawsuit, Liu reduced their job duties, cut their overtime, and fired one of the male plaintiffs, Haipei Shue, an on-air commentator. His alleged retaliation campaign only came to an end when Phoenix dismissed him. “We fired Mr. Liu because his behavior was contrary to company regulations and code of conduct,” Xiaoyong, the CEO of Phoenix’s American subsidiary, told Mother Jones. “This decision was based on comprehensive investigation rather than the alleged existence of [Anne’s] video recording.”

But the plaintiffs say that Tao Lu, who replaced Liu as bureau chief, continued the retaliation. Lu fired Meixing Ren, one of the plaintiffs, on July 18, according to the lawsuit. Ren had worked as a broadcast engineer in the DC office since April 2011, and he had signed Anne’s EEOC complaint. [Source]

Phoenix TV is one of the few private media stations permitted to air in mainland China. China Central Television, the predominant state TV broadcaster, has so far been mute on this lawsuit.


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