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S4C chief executive signed off with stress following sacking of her ally

14 Oct 2023 4 minute read
S4C Chief Executive Sian Doyle. (C) Huw John

Martin Shipton

Sian Doyle, the chief executive of S4C, has been signed off work with stress a day after her close ally, chief content officer Llinos Griffin-Williams, was dismissed for gross misconduct.

Ms Griffin-Williams was sacked by the Welsh language broadcaster’s Chair Rhodri Williams following an incident in France where she was abusive to members of a TV production team providing Rugby World Cup coverage.

Nation.Cymru revealed how Ms Griffin-Williams had been sacked after staff had initially been told that she had simply “left” the broadcaster.

The dismissal occurred following an investigation into her conduct at two locations in Nantes after the match on Saturday October 7 when Wales secured a place in the quarter final of the tournament after beating Georgia.

Ms Griffin-Williams and other S4C staff including chief executive Sian Doyle were at an event in the French city hosted by Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff’s best-known Welsh language music venue.

Abusive

Ms Griffin-Williams was abusive towards members of the Whisper TV team, including the former Wales international Mike Phillips, one of the pundits. She was personally abusive to Mr Phillips, saying things like if it wasn’t for her no one would know who he was. She also told him that his Welsh wasn’t good enough.

The Whisper team then left the venue to avoid further confrontation, taking a taxi to another location elsewhere in the city where other members of the Welsh media contingent were spending the evening. But Ms Griffin-Williams and Ms Doyle turned up at the second location and Ms Griffin-Williams resumed her abusive comments.

Ms Griffin-Williams was dismissed for gross misconduct. She was drunk, which is contrary to S4C policy when working for S4C. Her behaviour in Nantes was also not considered acceptable from a senior executive of the broadcaster.

Ms Doyle was at work on Friday morning in S4C’s section of BBC Wales’ office in Central Square, London. She attended a meeting of S4C’s senior management team and then a virtual all-staff meeting that involved workers in Cardiff, Carmarthen, Caernarfon, with some also working from home.

It is understood that Ms Doyle told Mr Williams at around lunchtime on Friday that she was seeing her doctor and later provided a sick note saying she had been signed off with stress.

The Times newspaper quoted an unnamed S4C source saying: “People are spooked that Llinos has been vaporised overnight. She should have been suspended first, not fired outright without an investigation. It has put Sian in a really difficult position as she tries to hold everyone together.”

In Ms Doyle’s absence her responsibilities will be shared by Geraint Evans, director of content and publishing strategy, and Elin Morris, chief operating officer.

In May the board of S4C commissioned Capital Law to investigate serious bullying allegations made by members of staff at the Welsh language TV channel.

A letter written to S4C’s non-executive board members by an official of the broadcasting union Bectu said that at a meeting of the union branch, four of its members had been in tears as they described their experiences of alleged bullying.

According to the letter, there was a toxic working environment at the channel and a lack of confidence in S4C management, with staff often feeling that they were ignored and belittled, undermined or patronised by members of the management team.

The investigation by Capital Law is ongoing. Sources have said it is taking longer than expected to complete because of the number of people who have come forward to give evidence.


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Will Jones
Will Jones
7 months ago

Two bullies!

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Will Jones

One gone and the second ducking the bullet by getting a sick note! S4C is rotten and needs a good sorting out. Too many entitled prima donnas and only a minority worth bothering with. Rhodri Williams needs to crack on with rooting out the bullies and the wasters. Solicitors taking their time with their review and report making it look a big deal so they can whack in a big fee – who said I’m a cynic ?

Last edited 7 months ago by hdavies15
Mawkernewek
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Why on earth does S4C have an office in London, within the BBC? I thought it was an independent broadcaster, or is the funding being channeled via the BBC licence fee part of a longer term program for the BBC to gobble it up?

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

They probably borrow a room and pay a fortune for it but some of these big egos just luv sounding off about having “an office in London” an old Welsh trait. As for the future it could get gobbled up and assimilated back to where we were back in the 70’s given that too many of these media luvvies are in it for their own personal financial gain. Yr Iaith is becoming a secondary consideration, just listen to some of the garbled gibberish that gets spoken on so called Welsh programmes.

Aled
Aled
7 months ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

S4C has a lot more than just an office in the BBC’s Central Square and you’re bang on to question that and the ‘independent’ channel’s relationship with the BBC. But it’s in Caerdydd, not London, so that’s an error in the article for Nation to correct.

C short
C short
7 months ago

Without pay I hope

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
7 months ago

You should never mix work,play and drink.

Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Bowen
7 months ago

This is such sad behaviour because in order for the Welsh language to grow we need Welsh people to be inclusive of other nationalities, not behaving like the Welsh language belongs to an exclusive little club. It is amazing how many people from other countries are learning Welsh and thereby contributing to the survival of the Welsh language.

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Unnamed sources and the Times. Never something I put trust in.

Bullying is not a good and its concerning that there is no capable internal process and attitude to deal with it.

Yom Richards
Yom Richards
7 months ago

S4C is a toxic, failing, over funded and exclusive club for the people whose only talent is the ability to talk management speak in Welsh. It has the potential to be a huge force for good in the inclusive promotion and propogation of the Welsh Language, yet has delivered no measurable benefit in decades

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago

It is vital those of us who speak “ street Welsh “ and use it every day to others can feel confident that S4C , Radio Cymru do not treat us as either a lost cause or to spoken down to. In my town, I know I can use Welsh with confidence to fellow locals to the individual level of each . Some of those who have come from further to the west find this hard to believe and so many of us listen to Capital Cymru rather than Radio Cymru or y paperau fro rather than more formal periodicals….which… Read more »

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