Ray Hadley has been forced to speak out after his former friend and 2GB radio producer accused him of “intense bullying” over 16 years in a lengthy social media post.
Former panel operator at 2GB, Chris Bowen, shared an open Facebook message on Friday claiming he had suffered years of mental health problems following the deaths of his parents, as well as years of “inexcusable behaviour” and “out of control sheer rage” directed at him at the radio station.
While he didn’t initially name Hadley in the post, simply saying “you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out”, he has since confirmed to several news outlets that it was about the radio host.
Now Hadley has responded to the claims on his 2GB radio show, revealing the pair once shared a close bond – similar to that shared by “father and son” – and he even acted as master of ceremonies at Bowen’s wedding.
“One of the saddest parts of my broadcasting life was the end of our relationship,” he explained to the news outlet. “That came a couple of years after I was MC [the master of ceremonies at his wedding], where he said some very generous and kind things about me, and our relationship.
“That was a very proud moment to see him get to that stage of his life despite the enormity of his battles.”
He went on to apologise for any hurt he may have caused Bowen, and said he’d love to make amends with him in the future.
It came after Bowen slammed his former colleague in the lengthy Facebook post, saying at the time: “I can’t bring myself to name the person, because even with my new found clarity and insight I fear their unpredictability. This person is incredibly intelligent, a pure genius at getting out of a sticky spot. Plus is backed by much more coin then me! But then again you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out.”
He described getting his job at 2GB straight out of school as “a dream come true”, but added: “Gradually as time passed I was subjected to vile and inexcusable behaviour. I know many of you have witnessed what I’m talking about.
“I also took part to an extent in this behaviour. When you’re dealing with someone you’ve put on a pedestal since the age of 8, someone who can pick up the phone and ring the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader or Police Commissioner on a whim, someone that an entire company relies on for a significant part of its profit – well you tend to just do what they say.”
Bowen claimed that the ‘bullying’ came in the form of “out of control sheer rage” which was allegedly directed at him at least weekly. While he said the behaviour was often blamed on a tougher culture seen in the media in the 1980s, he brushed that excuse aside – insisting many people from that era don’t act in such a way.
“At one point I think we went several months without talking to each other. This is a person that sat 5 metres away from me, 6 or 7 days a week in a soundproof studio. Thank god there was double glazed glass between us,” Bowen went on.
“But it also meant a covert form of bullying could take place, far removed from a management that could barley contain this person themselves.”
Bowen claimed that he complained about the behaviour in 2008, when he was “removed from the show for a short period after sending an email about my concerns”, however he added: “Complaining was about as effective as setting yourself on fire.”
He ended the post by insisting he’s now doing well, thanks to his wife and son, and expected the comments to spark controversy.
Immediately after seeing the post, Hadley reportedly told The Daily Telegraph he “won’t be saying anything about it out of respect for his [Bowen’s] mental health issues”.
But seeing Hadley’s initial response, Bowen then shared an old text message exchange which he claims was from a conversation with the radio star on “17/3/18”.
In the messages, Hadley allegedly wrote: “That’s your entire problem – you thought you had the ability to go straight to the chairman over everyone’s head – you’ve learned nothing – no more texts thanks.”
To which Bowen appeared to reply: “It’s called chain of command. Yes I’ll go away now, how you can live with yourself I’ll never know.”
It’s since then that Hadley has spoken out in the interview with The Daily Telegraph to get his side across.
A spokesman for Macquarie Media told Starts at 60 in a statement: “All staff at Macquarie Media are required to adhere to a workplace behaviour policy which includes a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment and report any matters of concern. Any current or former staff are encouraged to register a complaint directly with the station, as is the appropriate process. In the interest of fairness to all parties, all matters reported will be investigated on a confidential basis and the outcomes are discussed directly with the people involved.
“Other than what has been published on social media, we are not aware of any complaints having been made in relation to the matters raised by Chris Bowen, and would once again invite any complaints or concerns to be raised directly with the station to ensure that they can be dealt with promptly and fairly.”
It comes after Macquarie Radio’s chairman Russell Tate branded Hadley a “psychotic bully” in 2013, after the radio star slammed another producer, Richard Palmer. The matter was later settled.
Starts at 60 has contacted Macquarie Radio and Chris Bowen for comment.