Chris Smith has apologised for his drunken behaviour towards female colleagues at the Sky News Christmas party and revealed he has checked himself into a mental health facility.
He blamed alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder for his actions – the same excuse the veteran broadcaster used for inappropriate conduct at a 2GB Christmas party 13 years ago.
Smith was suspended by Sky and 2GB after the television network’s party on Saturday and his nutritionist wife Susie Burrell walked out of their family home on Sunday.
The 60-year-old allegedly made lewd comments while intoxicated at the work gathering and reduced a Sky colleague to tears.
Smith was pulled from the airwaves amid investigations into exactly what happened at Sky’s end-of-year celebrations at The Ivy Sunroom in Sydney.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Smith apologised for his behaviour and said the incidents at the party did not reflect his behaviour at work.
‘I am beyond gutted and devastated to know I have upset my colleagues after our Christmas party,’ Smith said.
‘I apologise profusely to the women I upset. That’s not the man I am at work, ever, as they will all attest. They have been so supportive to me and do not deserve such drunken treatment.’
Chris Smith has apologised for his drunken behaviour towards female colleagues at the Sky News Christmas party and revealed he has checked himself into a mental health facility. Smith is pictured with wife Susie Burrell, who left the family home on Sunday
‘I am beyond gutted and devastated to know I have upset my colleagues after our Christmas party,’ Smith (pictured above at a previous function) said on Monday afternoon
Smith blamed the events on bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction, saying ‘I have a recurring problem with alcohol… it sends me manic’.
‘I am in a facility receiving professional help to deal conclusively with my abuse of alcohol and solve this once and for all, without qualification… it can and will be done,’ he said.
‘I am also terribly upset about humiliating myself with people I respect and admire. I have been blessed to call them close colleagues.
‘I pride myself on my professionalism and work ethic but I have dropped the ball and embarrassed many people including those I love most – my family. I am very sorry.’
Smith’s wife left the family home with their young twin boys on Sunday after news broke that he was being suspended from work again.
The broadcaster’s friends are concerned about his psychological welfare, with one telling Daily Mail Australia, ‘He’s a bit of a danger to himself at the moment’.
Another told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Chris is at rock bottom. I’ve never seen him this fragile.’
‘He’s just bought a house and is supporting four kids. Suddenly he’s heading into Christmas with the prospect of losing both his jobs.’
Less than 48 hours before the Sky party, Smith attended News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s exclusive Christmas party at his Sydney harbourside mansion.
TV and radio host Chris Smith (pictured with wife Susie Burrell) has been suspended following allegations of inappropriate behaviour at the Sky News Christmas party
Veteran broadcaster Chris Smith (pictured) has been suspended from his duties at Sky News and 2GB while an investigation takes place
The Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window column said that he cut a hasty exit, leaving shortly after the party began, at 7.30pm.
Smith had otherwise spent the past week working as normal – weighing in on Twitter over the death of his ‘childhood crush’, US actress Kirstie Alley, 71 following a short battle with cancer.
He noted that she had struggled with alcohol and cocaine earlier in life, sparking criticism from some users after his own alleged behaviour at the Sky Christmas party was revealed.
‘How was your work Christmas party this year, Chris?’ one person commented.
Chris Smith’s comments about Kirstie Alley following her sad death six days ago have come back to haunt him
Prior to the Saturday’s event, Sky’s general manager of HR Kath Butler sent out a memo reminding Sky News colleagues to behave responsibly at the function.
‘This is a work event so please be respectful of others as you do when in the office,’ the memo stated.
Smith was due to host a 5pm nightly television show on Sky News Australia as part of the network’s 2023 line-up before he was pulled off-air on Sunday.
He has also been stripped off his duties filling in on 2GB breakfast’s show from this week over the Christmas break after broadcaster Ben Fordham went on holidays.
‘2GB has been made aware of serious allegations against Chris Smith, arising from the Sky News Christmas party,’ a spokesperson said.
‘Sky has advised they are conducting an investigation. Chris has been stood down from his duties at 2GB until the investigation has concluded.’
Veteran broadcaster John Stanley will fill in as 2GB breakfast presenter while Fordham is on leave.
Smith’s television program on Sky News scheduled to air on Sunday night was replaced with a repeat episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored.
A Sky News Australia spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The person involved has been suspended while an investigation into the allegations is undertaken.’
‘The welfare of our staff is our absolute priority. We have a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate conduct and take these allegations very seriously.’
It’s not the first time Smith has been suspended following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
He was suspended from the Macquarie Radio Network in 2009 following allegations from female colleagues at a 2GB Christmas party.
Smith was accused of exposing himself to several women, trying to kiss a female co-worker and assaulting then-Network 10 weather presenter, Magdalena Roze.
The veteran broadcaster was with Sky News colleagues at The Establishment on Saturday where it’s alleged he acted inappropriately towards several female co-workers
He was fired as a producer from A Current Affair in the late 1990s after he exposed himself to two female colleagues at a work party.
The incident was initially laughed off by Smith’s bosses but the women complained to the Nine Network and Smith was sacked.
Both women left the show and were rumoured to have secured big payouts.
Sky News presenter Paul Murray smoked a cigar at end-of-year celebrations with colleagues
In a separate incident, Smith fondled a senior journalist’s breasts.
It comes after new details have emerged about Saturday night’s wild celebrations after Sky News Australia’s employees took to social media to splash videos and images from the high-profile event on Instagram.
While the night allegedly ended on a sour note for some, the collection of Instagram highlight reels reveals the night began with a bang as media personalities sipped on beverages and enjoyed close-quarters dancing with colleagues.
Columnist and TV host Rita Panahi posted clips to her Instagram story showing two female co-workers smiling and giggling as they danced on either side of Outsiders co-host James Morrow to Latto’s ‘Big Energy’.
As the night progressed, Panahi added more photos of her posing up with her colleagues like Gabriella Power and Jules Bradley.
Panahi also showed off the booze-abundant bar, with shelves lined with spirits and bottles of wines and glasses covering the counter.