The women who made Tim Worner pay for his affair.

On Monday night, as members group the Ladies at Sydney Swans voiced their rising discontent that embattled Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner was still on the board of their club, Swans CEO Andrew Ireland shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and in more than a few words, explained it was out of his hands.

That wasn’t good enough for the high profile women of the Sydney Swans.

Worner, of course, has had a shaky few months. The businessman was thrust from the bright lights of the boardroom to the bright lights of your computer screen, when his 2012 to 2014 affair with former employee Amber Harrison was made public along with allegations the married father-of-four took drugs when with her.

As well as the affair and the drugs (Worner denies the drug claims), it’s also alleged the businessman used company funds to pursue a relationship with Harrison. Seven West Media have been accused of “gagging” Harrison after they obtained an interim injunction to bar the former executive assistant from divulging private company information.

But despite very public rumblings from those in Harrison’s corner, and those who more generally lament how the reputation of men almost always magically defy controversy, Worner’s shaky few months began to steady.

His career was fairly well unaffected. His reputation took a hit, but he was far from disgraced. After all, the Channel Seven board cleared him of any “wrongdoing” despite Worner himself sending a company-wide email admitting many of his actions were “wrong”. Semantics aside, Worner may have created a PR sh*tstorm for his company, but it was a storm he has continued to weather.

The Mamamia OutLoud team discuss the Tim Worner scandal. Post continues after audio.

But the women at Monday night’s Ladies at Sydney Swans ([email protected]) meeting were not ready to move on and were steadfast in their desire for Worner to step down. The Australian Financial Review reports the prominent group of female Swans members threatened to cancel their membership and boycott the club unless the board was seen to take action.

By Friday, Worner had announced his resignation, in a statement saying it was his intention to “relieve pressure on the board and the club”.

In their own statement, Sydney Swans Chairman Andrew Pridham said the decision to step down also came to “avoid further distraction for the Club”. There’s no doubt his resignation will probably do just that, and there’s merit in Worner’s ability to have the foresight to see it for himself.


This is one of the most significant roles Worner has had to part with since the scandal broke in December. But it’s arguably not the most interesting part of the whole narrative.

The women who voiced their discontent were able to spark a conversation; a conversation they would have traditionally been locked out of.

Seven West CEO Tim Worner. Image via Facebook.

While so many still consider the AFL a messy realm of blokey masculinity, here's an example where women were able to put pressure on a club's board and it wasn't met with passive dismissal.

Instead, it was met with an acknowledgment that hey, perhaps this is a conversation worth having.

So is it a coincidence that in the year when women's footy went mainstream and women's sport in its entirety gained momentum, a group of powerful but unimpressed women were able to clearly make their thoughts and feelings known?

That's for you to decide.

Meanwhile, I'll be shaking my head, confident in it being no coincidence at all.