A boys' club that ruled the roost.
Men who worked their way into senior positions at MediaWorks, making their own laws and expecting others to live by them.
Some may have been broadcasting school buddies, some perhaps flatmates and others best friends. All came together to create a work hard, play hard environment.
But at some point they appear to have lost sight of how to run a company and treat their employees correctly.
Instead, their set of rules isolated anyone who wasn't in the office "family". Some of those left the company, many stayed to fight for a job that they loved.
"It's definitely a lads' environment and I feel like a woman just occupying the space rather than engaging in it equally," one woman told the explosive Maria Dew report released this week.
The report will force a massive and long overdue culture change at the company.
But it also lays bare the size of that job at an organisation that appears to me has not only turned a blind eye to appalling conduct, but has enabled it.
"Slut", "hoe" and "don't hire a female as she'll get knocked up in five minutes", were some of the comments workers said they had to deal with, the report noted.
"Boys, this is why you don't hire mums," another worker claimed hearing.
One staffer told the Herald for many in powerful positions at MediaWorks there was no distinction between their work lives, and their social lives – and people were promoted accordingly.
That worker said they "hire their friends", and the only women who succeeded were ones who were prepared to tolerate poor behaviour.
Their view was backed up in the report, which said participants commonly felt the lack of females in senior management was due to the boys' club favouring the appointment of males.
"You see a lot of this. No female is given a leg up. There is an attitude of 'you are one of the sons or you're not'. There is the inner circle and females don't get let into that circle," a participant told the investigator.
Supposed entry to the club, had it been offered, may have benefited those on the wrong end of an 18 per cent pay gap at the organisation, which is nearly double the national average.
But the club didn't just help the men rise up through the ranks, and the pay scale, according to one source.
They said if something bad happened, they would "cover" for them because that person had helped them on their journey.
Dyhrberg Drayton employment law partner Steph Dyhrberg told the Herald the dark side of being "herd animals" is that we tend to, even unconsciously, look the other way or simply be in denial about allegations against people close to us.
Some participants reported they had made complaints about sexist remarks or inappropriate sexual comments to managers for a period of more than two years but nothing was done.
Fourteen people alleged they personally experienced or witnessed one former MediaWorks male employee making sexist remarks or inappropriate comments.
Furthermore, the investigation found that reports of bullying were high, and the behaviour wasn't called out by MediaWorks on the basis that it was "just how they are" or "that's just radio".
"There are a few employees that get away with bullying co-workers and discrimination due to their status in the business or relationships with leaders," one survey participant said.
In contrast, the report said "only a small group" of employees came forward saying they didn't see anything wrong with the culture - these participants were generally managers and mostly male.
It said those workers saw the few unhappy people as not "cut out" for the industry.
That view doesn't align with the more than 70 review participants that had reported some form of unreasonable and repeated behaviour they regarded as bullying, usually alleged to have been by a direct or senior manager.
The majority of reported bullying related to the same 10 named employees.
Complaints included swearing and yelling on a repeated basis. Participants commented that some announcers appeared "untouchable" because the behaviour went unchecked.
A MediaWorks survey commissioned by the review found that 45 per cent of females and 34 per cent of males that participated had witnessed some form of bullying.
This was echoed by a source who told the Herald one worker was bullied for years and the offender was protected by the company.
Inappropriate behaviour, that person said, was the norm.
They believed there was an attitude of always backing a supposed work "family" member at the broadcaster, even if they didn't behave well.
"It's swept under the rug unless it is made public in the media. People are only reprimanded if it's leaked to press," another told investigators.
Also, workers who spoke in the Dew report claimed that when they complained about racist comments over several years their objections weren't taken seriously.
Harmful comments included, "No one buys [radio station] as brown people don't have money" [referring to commercial sales of advertising], and "Can you just tone down the Māori".
After years of incubating the virus of sexism and discrimination in the company, a senior figure in the business was accused of engaging in sexual activity with a "heavily" intoxicated teen, half his age, at a work event.
No staff at the 2019 event intervened and the young woman said she was left with "serious psychological harm", Dew's report found.
There were 30 listeners and 30 staff at the event and the report said there was no evidence that any senior MediaWorks employee reported the incident in the days after.
Dyhrberg said there can be peer pressure on people not to say anything if it's about someone very influential or powerful.
"When senior people see it, or hear about it and do nothing they're essentially condoning it. And that's the message that people get."
When the incident was raised as an issue, and a "short investigation" was done, no written report of the investigation was ever made by the company.
"The young woman was not informed of the outcome of her complaint until she followed up with MediaWorks. The young woman was deeply upset with MediaWorks' response but did not have the resource or will to pursue the matter further."
MediaWorks was approached by the Herald but a spokesperson said it had no further comment to make.
Dew wrote that the failings in this instance, were not simply down to an individual but were the collective responsibility of the senior management team involved.
Ultimately, she said, the CEO and the board at the time all had some involvement in the decision-making.
This process, and how much the victim was let down by it, has one staffer wondering how those in control are able to sleep at night.
The staffer told the Herald that the business had created "nightmares".
While allegations shared in the MediaWorks report are horrifying they're not isolated in the industry. Now it's up to leaders to ensure this behaviour, and the boys' club that enabled it, ends here.
SEXUAL HARM - DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:
• Text 4334 and they will respond
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat