A review outlining Weta’s workshop on bullying, sexism, and toxic workplace allegations

Layna Lazar's social media post sparked an independent investigation on Weta Workshop. (File photo)

KEVIN STENT / Stuff

Layna Lazar’s social media post sparked an independent investigation on Weta Workshop. (File photo)

A Weta workshop review validated allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, and toxic culture following the allegations made in a social media post.

In June, Weta Workshop artist and former model maker Layna Lazar made allegations on social media about bullying and one case in which it was inappropriately touched on. It prompted a wave of others to speak out and brought in an HR company to investigate its allegations.

But Ainsley Penfield of Hive found the allegations “baseless.”

Said Lazar, who signed a nondisclosure agreement with Weta Workshop Things Of the losses the epic left on her life.

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“I have colitis [an irritable bowel disease exacerbated by stress]. “Because of this whole thing on Weta, I’m out of calm, I’m really sick,” she said.

“I couldn’t work. Things were not going well at all. Weta ruined my life.”

Lazar worked at Weta Workshop for nearly a year until 2016, creating modeling and concept art for the long-running superhero series. power Rangers. But in June 2020, inspired by the #metoo movement, she posted allegations on social media of bullying and harassment during her time there.

She claimed to have been touched once on her bottom without her consent, while leaning on a colleague’s desk. Her allegations of bullying and close supervision were supported by others who spoke to them Things.

A Weta Workshop media release said that Penfield considered the specific procedures described in Lazar’s social media post, but found that the allegations “have not been substantiated or, when determining the factual elements, were found to be reasonable in the context of the circumstances not described in the post.”

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A Weta Workshop spokeswoman did not confirm the terms of reference of the investigation or the number of people interviewed.

Bainfield made a number of recommendations including a greater focus on preventing harassment and bullying as well as establishing additional ways for staff to speak out or seek support.

Weta Workshop non-executive chairman George Hecton said the company will implement the recommendations, but said that “management and environmental practices have changed significantly since 2016.”

It had a new sexual harassment and bullying prevention policy and hired peer supporters and an outside mediator available for any crew member who wanted to raise a concern or complaint. Most of the staff and management have been trained in preventing and responding to sexual harassment and bullying and those who have not been trained will be trained in the new year.

“The owners, the board of directors and the senior leadership team are committed to ensuring that the Weta Workshop is a safe place to work and an inclusive and supportive environment, where crew members can feel safe when there are any concerns or problems,” he said.

The Weta Workshop founders and owners, Tanya Rodger and Richard Taylor, said the company is committed to its continued focus on caring for people, in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Queen’s counselor was brought in for an independent review of Weta Digital after allegations of sexual harassment at the Wellington filmmaker.

A company statement stated that the move was commissioned by the owners. The majority of film owners are filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson, Dam Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens.

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