Updated: ITV newsreader quits over false claims

An ITV newsreader who planned to sue the regional network over race, sex, religious and age discrimination quit the channel after no evidence was found on any of the allegations.

“I have enjoyed my time with ITV, but over the last few months I realise I made serious and damaging allegations against my Bristol colleagues and ITV managers. The allegations were made whilst I was very angry and unwell. I now withdraw all the allegations and wish to continue to develop my career.” – Lisa Aziz

Updated: In the original story Lisa Aziz, an ITV newsreader was said, by Associated Newspapers’ Daily Mail, to be suing the Channel 3 public service broadcaster.

Aziz alleged that staff in the newsroom had been imitating Pakistan and Irish accents, including News a Ten’s Sir Trevor McDonald – a staple part of Rory Bremner’s routine for many years. Those accused by Aziz were found by the channel bosses to have committed absolutely no wrong-doing whatsoever.

Her accusations followed a report by the Mail Online which claimed she had been suspended for irregularities with her expenses, one of the irregular items apparently being a £5.75 bill for dry cleaning a child’s top. The Mail report appeared after an article in Private Eye; it was believed that the expense figure for unusual receipts were in total in the £200 figure.

‘I leave ITV knowing that my time at ITV has been amongst the most fulfilling of my career in television and I have the highest regard for the quality of journalism produced there.’ – Lisa Aziz

ITV found in their investigation ‘that while the male anchor did impersonate colleagues he stopped on his own volition and all the impersonations were in good humour and not racist.’ However, Aziz went on to file legal papers to the Bristol Employment Tribunal suing ITV for race, sex, age and religious discrimination with a demand for £5 million pounds compensation. The case was due to be heard in March 2009, however Aziz quit her job and released her statement before any proceedings advanced. She blamed her fictional accusations towards a male co-host and other newsroom co-workers on an ‘illness’. She checked into The Priory clinic for a period to recover.

Aziz was Britain’s first Asian national news presenter. She joined ITV News, produced by ITN, in 2006. She had previously worked for Good Morning Britain from TV-am for ITV in the late 80s and early 90s and then rolling news service Sky News.

Lisa Aziz was suspended from her job in June over alleged expenses irregularities. 

UPDATE: Ms Aziz withdrew the claim and apologised following ITV finding the allegations to be baseless. The original media reports accepted that Lisa Aziz’s allegations were not true and apologised to the staff named and management of ITV for the distress caused.