As he snaps on his gold watch, the eulogies for John Westacott keep pouring into Crikey.
Going by some of the correspondence from anonymous former colleagues, we get the feeling that John’s giant novelty farewell card may not have been filled with love heart messages, funny little drawings and fond in-jokes.
Here’s a particularly sour email about the former head of News and Current Affairs at Channel Nine:
John Westacott won’t be missed at the Willoughby headquarters of Nine. Please give him the send off he deserves.
Here are some examples of what he has done:
- Eating a mandarin and spitting its contents into a tissue while negotiating the contract of Mike Dalton from the Today Show back in 2007.
- Asking Majella Wiemers what she actually did at the network seconds before she was about to walk into the studio to present the weather.
- Referring to Tracy Grimshaw as the “fat cow” behind her back to other Nine staff.
- Explaining that 60 Minutes was like Hollywood — he was the director and he could do “whatever the fuck I want with my stars”.
- Telling NineMSN in a meeting that they would take last rung at any major event that Nine was covering.
- Only recently he asked ACA staff if they used a great new tool called “the internet”. Staff were gobsmacked at how stupid and out of touch he was.
- Telling Tom Malone the EP of the Today Show, about 12 months ago, that he was disappointed he couldn’t sack him, as he didn’t need another headline.
John Westacott is universally hated by staff at Nine.
But Westacott’s lasting legacy — apart from the term “Westie” (coined to denote any salary that topped $1 million (after his did) and one we understand that he liked to use himself) — was the “fuckability” factor.
Better than Eddie’s “boned”, the “fuckability” quote came to light in February 2008 when Channel Nine reporter and then Los Angeles Correspondent Christine Spiteri launched an unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination claim in which she cited language used by Westacott.
It was claimed in the action that Westacott told a group of female journalists at a book launch last year that they were hired only for their sex appeal.
“To make it in this industry, you gotta have fuckability. To make it in this game, women have to be fuckable,” Westacott is alleged to have said:
In this spirit of s-xyness, we then published the Crikey Fuckability Index.
Here are some highlights (complete with Westacott heads):
The Sunrise Team: Mel, Kochie, Nat, Mark: First names only but that’s where the impression of intimacy starts and stops. Despite what one hears about the intense carnal action amoung the broader Sunrise community, the on-air staff are about as rootable as four slices of Sunblest Sandwich in clingwrap.
A Current Affair: Tracy Grimshaw. A testament to the embalmer’s art. Last recorded effective facial expression was in 1997.
The Insiders : Barry Cassidy. For Ray Barrett fans only. The myopic woman’s George Clooney.
Lateline : Tony Jones: The thinking woman’s Kerry O’Brien. Don’t ask me questions.
SBS News: Stan Grant: The human being that most resembles wood. That is to say timber.
Lee Lin Chin: Only for the insatiably curious.
Anton Enus: One for the ladies.
Sharon McKenzie: A symphony in purple satin. We prefer natural fabrics. Bunny boiler?
John Mangos: Best work with Graham Kennedy is behind him. Still … nice tan.
Peter Meakin: Too drunk to fuck.
We’ll miss you John. And for the record, we gave you, um, half a head. You are, after all, barely boneable.
John Westacott: Not if he was the last Nine news director on earth etc.