Veteran television journalist Kamahl Santamaria resigned from his position with New Zealand’s popular news channel TVNZ after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behaviour.
Santamaria, who previously worked with Al Jazeera as a presenter, was accused of sending inappropriate messages to co-workers and harassing women on multiple occasions. Following his resignation, the head of news responsible for hiring him at TVNZ also tendered his resignation.
Santamaria, who started his career as a journalist in New Zealand, was a popular figure for Al Jazeera as he covered major events over the years with the 2020 United States elections being the latest.
As per an investigation conducted by BBC, Santamaria was the topic of several complaints in the past 16 years. The allegations against the veteran journalist included “sexual harassment, bullying, nepotism and toxic behaviour” and it was reported to authorities on multiple occasions.
However, BBC claimed that no action was taken by the Al Jazeera authorities and 10 employees who worked at the same time in the company confirmed that the director of news knew of the accusations.
In response to the accusations, Santamaria said that he was sorry for “behaviour that may have made anyone feel uncomfortable” as he considered them to be “flirtatious, over-friendly, ‘just a bit of banter’, or simply within the bounds of acceptable in the prevailing newsroom culture was, in fact, not”.
Al Jazeera also declined to comment on the accusations and issued an official statement. “As an international organisation with over 95 nationalities, we continually strive to build a healthy and constructive work environment for all,” the statement read according to BBC.