Two executives at top accounting firm are SACKED over ‘racist’ trivia night skit where they ‘dressed up as bats from Wuhan and mocked Chinese accents’
- Two PwC executives sacked over ‘racist’ trivia skit held at the end of last month
- Others who attended and organised trivia could be handed ‘financial penalties’
- An HR worker ‘dressed up as a Wuhan bat’ while another mocked Chinese accent
- CEO Tom Seymour apologised to staff, saying he was ‘extremely disappointed’
Two executives at one of Australia’s top accounting firms have been dismissed after they performed ‘racist’ skits at a company trivia night.
A PwC employee dressed up as a ‘bat from Wuhan’ while another mocked Chinese accents during the internal event held at the end of last month.
One question in the trivia asked players to choose which company represented communism with one answer being the Chinese tech company Huawei.
Findings from an internal investigation into two staff members from the human resources division has seen ‘people leaving their roles’.
Two PwC executives have been shown the door following internal investigations into a ‘racist’ skits at a company trivia night last month (PwC headquarters in London)
The firm’s People and Ethical Conduct Panel launched an internal investigation after two HR workers mocked Chinese accents and ‘dressed up as a bat from Wuhan’ during a trivia event (pictured email to staff from CEO Tom Seymour)
Chief Executive Tom Seymour told The Australian the company’s People and Ethical Conduct Panel will investigate handing out ‘financial penalties’ to those who attended or organised the trivia but did not come forward.
The incidents prompted the chief executive to apologise to all staff as well as directly address those who attended the trivia night.
A leaked email sent to staff after the incident has since been circulating online.
‘Last Thursday there was behaviour at an internal team trivia event which did not reflect the values and culture of our firm and which has caused discomfort and offence,’ Mr Seymour previously told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The behaviour included two racist and offensive sketches which, whilst unintentional, were thoughtless and harmful.
‘A number of people shared their disappointment, frustration and anger about this event. On behalf of all the team at PwC, I am extremely disappointed that this incident has occurred.’
The online trivia had been held for the company’s national infrastructure division and had been organised to boost morale within the workplace.
The company became aware of the incident on Friday before Instagram page The Aussie Corporate shared messages from staff on the Saturday.
The incidents prompted Chief Executive Tom Seymour (pictured) to apologise to all staff this week as well as directly addressing those who were on the trivia call
The online trivia had been held for the company’s national infrastructure division (pictured PwC offices in Sydney)
One person wrote to the social media page: ‘They dressed up as bats from Wuhan and mocked Chinese accents’.
Mr Seymour said the behaviour was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘shouldn’t have happened’, adding the event had sparked the need for ‘deep reflections’ for PwC as a firm.
Following several webcasts with staff this week the chief executive has committed to a review of the company ‘from inside and out’ to begin next week.
The ‘program of work’ will focus on the inclusion of people from a diverse cultural background via webcast to better understand their experiences.
Mr Seymour said the review will determine how much work needs to be done to strengthen the company’s culture of belonging and inclusion.
‘Discriminatory or exclusionary behaviours of any kind are wholly inconsistent with our values at PwC Australia,’ he said.
Just under half of PwC’s staff are from non-European backgrounds.
PWC CEO TOM SEYMOUR’S FULL STATEMENT:
‘Last Thursday there was behaviour at an internal team trivia event which did not reflect the values and culture of our firm and which has caused discomfort and offence. The behaviour included two racist and offensive sketches which, whilst unintentional, were thoughtless and harmful.
A number of people shared their disappointment, frustration and anger about this event. On Monday I had a video call with the same team that was part of the trivia event to apologise and listen. On behalf of all the team at PwC, I am extremely disappointed that this incident has occurred.
This incident is being investigated by our People and Ethical Conduct Panel and we have shared communications with our partners and staff reminding them to consider how our behaviour can impact others. Put simply, our ask is that our people put themselves in other people’s shoes.
I am hugely disappointed we fell short of the standard we hold ourselves to. One of the best aspects of my career at PwC has been the opportunity to work with colleagues from all backgrounds, cultures and beliefs.
We aspire to be an inclusive and caring organisation. We have to work harder to meet this goal.’