John ‘JC’ Caldwell reportedly suing ARN, claims he was “discriminated for being gay”

Former Assistant Editor

Recently dismissed ARN radio host John ‘JC’ Caldwell is reportedly suing his former employer.

As the SMH reports, Caldwell has accused ARN management of “bullying, permitting an homophobic culture”.

Caldwell, who also named The Kyle and Jackie O Show in the lawsuit, says he was “discriminated for being gay” during his time at the network.

He most recently hosted the Celeb HQ show on KIIS FM Nights, before he was dismissed at the start of November.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers are reportedly working with Caldwell for his case.

In 2010 Harmers was in the employ of Kristy Fraser-Kirk who levelled a $37 million punitive damages claim against Mark McInnes.

While the claim was ultimately aborted, McInnes ended up resigning as a result of the case.

In a statement, Caldwell claims he “repeatedly complained about these issues to his managers, saying he would need to leave if they were not addressed.”

Caldwell accuses an unnamed “senior executive” who regularly told him words to the effect of “We just don’t upset the KJ machine.

“If you’ve got a problem, we can find a workaround, but we never upset the KJ machine.”

He also says he “endured years of bullying at ARN, bullying that had caused him to feel suicidal at times.”

“After Mr Caldwell escalated the seriousness of his complaints, he was sacked by ARN in October after an alleged complaint from another KIIS FM employee,” explained the statement.

“He was not told any details of the complaint and was at no stage interviewed or asked for his side of the story.”

The statement also reveals that there was an incident between Caldwell and another KIIS FM employee at the recent 2018 ACRAs, which he believes was the reason for his axing.

“Mr Caldwell now believes that an incident at the recent October Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) between himself and a fellow KIIS FM employee was the cause of his dismissal.

“Later the same evening, the aggressive verbal attack was continued by the fellow employee. Prior to his sacking, and shortly after the ACRAs, Mr Caldwell made a complaint about the homophobic verbal attack he had been subjected to.

“In that incident, John was subject to an aggressive verbal homophobic attack by the fellow employee.”

That verbal attack is said to have included words along the lines of “you’re a homo”, “poofter”, “fucking faggot” and “I’m not a fucking faggot”.

A spokesperson for ARN tells Radio Today that ARN are not aware of any such claims.

“ARN are not aware of any proceedings commenced against KIIS FM or ARN by John Caldwell, and will rigorously defend any claims if they commence,” said the spokesperson.

 “John Caldwell’s contract was ended in October. Due to privacy reasons, we don’t comment on individual contracts however John was given the reasons for his contract ending.

“ARN prides itself on its passionate work in the area of diversity and inclusion, particularly with LGBTQI initiatives and the broader community.”

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (11)
Post new comment
21 Nov 2018 - 4:50 pm

No prizes for guessing who’s involved in this

21 Nov 2018 - 4:51 pm

Been a lot of bullying at ARN in recent years is this another example sad if it is.

Am I missing something???
21 Nov 2018 - 7:22 pm

So….just so I’m honing in on this case.

The show with multiple openly gay production staff in a network that sponsors Mardi Gras with an exec leadership team comprised of multiple openly gay leaders discriminated against JC for his gayness.

Seems legit.

22 Nov 2018 - 6:36 am

In my time, i heard a manager suggest to an employee she should put in a formal complaint about another male staff member, to which she responded “but i don’t know which one he is”. The guy went very quick and there is no way the complain could have been investigated in the time frame. I got the feeling encouraging complaints to HR wasn’t uncommon if that particular GM was involved who i now believe works in the education sector. You can never tell who is in the right in the scenarios.

22 Nov 2018 - 8:23 am

He just wasn’t that good, could that be the reason he was fired?

22 Nov 2018 - 11:01 am

There is homophobia amongst gay people, staff and execs you know people. Sounds like might be a case of that here.

22 Nov 2018 - 12:51 pm

ARN is the gayest network on the planet good times yay !

22 Nov 2018 - 4:02 pm

Who was the other KIIS FM employee ????

23 Nov 2018 - 5:11 am

This guy has balls to sue a company the size of ARN. Talk about David v Goliath.

24 Nov 2018 - 1:46 pm

As a gay man, I’ve worked at all 3 major networks and I have to say ARN had the best culture by far. If anything us gays run the place! Something tells me there’s more to this story, I’m sure we’ll find out in time.

@ TJ
28 Nov 2018 - 9:14 am

I think you’ll find that it isn’t necessarily an issue with the entire network… Take a closer look at the history of the Kyle and Jackie O Show and you might find the answer.


See all