Former SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin is still lighting up social media with her legion of fans lamenting her departure last week after 30 years with the network.
Despite Lee Lin Chin, a prolific tweeter, advising them she has not retired, reasons for her leaving the newsreading role have not been clear, though she has been adamant that she is not finished yet.
Last week she tweeted: “I have not announced my retirement. I simply am not reading the news on SBS anymore. I’m open to returning to SBS or appearing on any other network. Trust me, I’m not done yet”.
I have not announced my retirement. I simply am not reading the news on @SBS anymore. I’m open to returning to SBS or appearing on any other network. Trust me, I’m not done yet. https://t.co/kpDLXKc66d
— Lee Lin Chin (@LeeLinChinSBS) July 26, 2018
More cryptically, she tweeted in response to colleague Anton Enus, her successor at the news desk: “We all have our contractual obligations and yours was to watch my back”.
We all have our contractual obligations and yours was to watch my back.
The weekend news is in good hands. https://t.co/Wed7jB7JWQ
— Lee Lin Chin (@LeeLinChinSBS) July 29, 2018
According to SBS insiders, Lee Lin Chin’s departure was decided in March when renegotiations for her contract broke down. Her departure date, the insiders say, was eventually planned not to overshadow the departure of SBS managing director Michael Ebeid who formally announced his departure from SBS on July 30 to join Telstra.
But Lee Lin Chin announced her resignation from SBS on July 26, giving an exclusive interview to Ten’s Sandra Sully, rather than SBS, telling her:
“There’s not one big reason, there’s many small to medium-sized reasons, which for the time being I wish to keep to myself but may talk about one day. One reason I shall reveal however is that working two days a week didn’t give me enough time to devote to the pub and re-reading the complete works of Shakespeare. So now that I work zero days that issue has been addressed.”
She referred to her SBS contract, saying: “I thought SBS would just fire me one day so I’d never have to make the decision, they obviously didn’t and in fact offered me a two year contract extension at the start of the year. So I had to start considering it a lot more seriously”.
According to one SBS staffer, a gathering to celebrate Lee Lin Chin’s final broadcast on Sunday, July 29 was not attended by the newsreader. “She didn’t attend the party at all – she escaped straight out of make-up to the fire escape and out the building,” the staff member said.
— SBS News (@SBSNews) July 29, 2018
(The SBS newsroom has long been described by many who work there, or have worked there, as tolerating a culture of bullying. Its MD Michael Ebeid was recorded at a staff meeting in 2016 discussing bullying issues after a series of articles in Daily Review detailing numerous current and former staff complaints of a “toxic” workplace, particularly in the newsroom. Ebeid denied there was a bullying problem and attacked Daily Review and “disgruntled”staff.
But as recently as yesterday, a commenter describing themselves as a former SBS staffer, claimed a bullying culture still existed at SBS, writing: “It is now 2018 and nothing has changed at SBS….The toxic culture at SBS caused me tremendous stress, for which I sought counselling. When I shared my concerns with HR nothing was done. My experience was that management and senior execs were woefully ill-equipped to lead their teams, bullied their way through and blamed staff for not being a ‘cultural’ fit. I even took my complaints to the head of the news division and left feeling it all went in one ear and out the other. For a long time I felt quite broken and traumatised by the experience but I’m so glad to be out of there….”)
Daily Review approached SBS for comment but did not hear back by time of publication. Attempts to reach Lee Lin Chin were not successful.
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