The rapid capitulation of Kamahl Santamaria's tenure in New Zealand offers a sharp rebuke to a media industry that has a long and cosy history of shoulder tapping mates for gigs.
The fiasco has cost Santamaria his return to NZ television and the man who hired him, TVNZ news boss Paul Yurisich, has now quit.
The summary of the internal review sheds light on something we already knew: hiring practices are different for those in the upper echelons of the glitzy media world.
History shows us that some of TVNZ's worst PR crises have been linked to their star presenters - from sacked anchor John Hawkesby's $6 million payout, to then Prime Minister Helen Clark criticising Paul Holmes' salary, to Tony Veitch's domestic violence charges, to the public acrimony over Wendy Petrie being dropped as co-host of One News.
Yurisich knew Santamaria for a quarter of a century and spent years working with him at Al Jazeera – a period during which other women complained about the presenter.
The Santamaria report by senior employment lawyer Margaret Robins confirms that the state broadcaster's standard recruitment policy has not, historically, been adhered to in the recruitment of key presenters.
When it comes to acquiring talent for high-profile roles, this is done quietly behind the scenes by identifying potential candidates and then arranging a meeting.
Speaking on his Newstalk ZB show after the report came out, broadcaster Mike Hosking confirmed that virtually all the major moves in his career involved being shoulder tapped rather than tussling with other candidates in a prolonged interview process.
"I don't even have a CV," he said.
As Hosking stressed, this is how it has been done for the past 25 years and it's difficult to see how it could suddenly change.
As the report explains, confidentiality is paramount "in the rare situations where famous people, media interest and commercial sensitivities collide".
In this context, some might argue that Yurisich was only doing what the industry had always done in hiring key talent.
But this would be an oversimplification.
Firstly, the report states clearly that TVNZ's editor of content, executive producer of the Breakfast show, chief people officer and general manager of news and current affairs were not consulted sufficiently.
At the very least, you'd expect the wider team at the organisation to be consulted when making expensive decisions like this.
What constitutes proper consultation is certainly up for debate – and TVNZ will no doubt be working on proper processes to follow when the next high-profile hire is made.
But beyond the procedural issue, you also have to look at the message it sends to the team in the newsroom when a hire this disastrous is made.
Until TVNZ fully explains what happened, observers could infer one of three possible scenarios from this saga:
• 1) The broadcaster knew about Santamaria's questionable behaviour but hired him in any case
• 2) It was completely unaware of Santamaria's alleged behaviour, despite staff facing distress
• or 3) TVNZ had heard the rumours but didn't think much of them.
Whichever explanation you choose, it simply doesn't shine a positive light on anyone in TVNZ's management involved in hiring Santamaria, which included Yurisich.
Yurisich was the head of news at TVNZ – a role that necessitates impeccable judgment.
Had he stayed, the staff at the businesses may have regarded other decisions made from then on as questionable.
To use a sporting analogy, Yurisich wouldn't have just lost the dressing room; he would've been locked out of it.
Given the tensions where senior team members felt frustrated that they hadn't been sufficiently consulted about the hiring process and you're left with a manager with no one willing to be managed.
TVNZ could have forced the issue along and kept Yurisich on the job, but the impact on the work culture - in my view - would have been detrimental.
Generally, when mistrust seeps into the relationship between staff and management, it can slow down processes and lead to every decision being questioned.
This would have created less than ideal circumstances on the eve of the media mega-merger between TVNZ and RNZ – which will likely see big changes across the newsrooms of both organisations.
TVNZ would have wanted to avoid any prolonged damage from this event – and Yurisich, who arrived as an outsider, would have understood that his task of defining the culture at the organisation was severely hamstrung.
On the topic of trust, a major shortcoming of the report – or at least the publicly available summary – is that it doesn't provide any clarity on TVNZ's decision to misinform the public about Santamaria's screen disappearance in the first place.
Santamaria's absence was initially attributed to a "family emergency" - creating the impression that he was going through something deeply personal and difficult.
Obfuscation is by no means unique to TVNZ when it comes to public relations. The media industry is filled with jokes about spin doctors delivering statements, which may contain words but say very little.
The one good thing to come out of all of this is TVNZ's strong internal complaints process ensured that the concerns of a staff member were taken seriously and that the alleged wrongdoer wasn't left to act with impunity. He was quickly removed from air pending an investigation.
This is a major departure from the way these issues would have been handled in the past and shows a sign of real progress being made.
If anything, it indicates that established norms in the media can change – albeit with a less-than-subtle shove from those tired of the status quo.