'Disturbing personal attack': Tracy Grimshaw breaks silence on ex-CEO's comments

Marni Dixit
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Tracy Grimshaw has broken her silence on ex-CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Jayson Westbury after he said she needed "to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face".

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that in a since-deleted video, the former CEO made the comments while speaking about how the negative publicity surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the travel industry was being addressed.

Tracy Grimshaw has broken her silence on Jayson Westbury's "disturbing" comments about her. Photo: Nine

Jayson was forced to step down on Wednesday over the issue, as confirmed in a statement from the organisation.

“His choice of words cannot be condoned. His work history stands in good stead for the service he has provided to the travel industry and AFTA’s members,” Chairman Tom Manwaring said in a statement.

“My comments relating to Ms Grimshaw involved a very poor choice of words. I apologise for that choice and accept the language used was completely inappropriate,” said former CEO said in a statement this morning.

Jayson Westbury’s resignation is effective immediately, and he has been replaced by Courtney Duddleston in the interim.

Tracy shared a statement on Wednesday night's episode of A Current Affair, saying, "Jayson Westbury had one job. As CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents he was supposed to help them navigate the devastating effects of this COVID-19 pandemic and somehow address the scathing criticism from customers who now couldn't travel and couldn't get refunds.

"Instead, he chose to shoot the messenger in a disturbing personal attack on me."

In the episode, Brady Halls spoke to Jayson, where he apologised for the comments.

"I unreservedly apologise for that statement, it was a bad choice of words by me. It was at a heightened time, there is a lot member disgruntlement. I have extended my apologies to Ms Grimshaw directly through a note that I've written to her, that she'll receive in the mail. I can do no more than apologise for those comments unreservedly," the former CEO said.

Jayson Westbury said on Wednesday night's episode of ACA that he had sent Tracy and apology in a card. Photo: Nine

Brady told him, "Well, she hasn't received that, you tell me that you're writing a letter to her."

"I've sent her a card, yeah," Jayson said, adding, "I mean, I don't have direct access to her, I don't have her – I, mean I could ring the station."

Brady said it was something that he never should have said, asking how many people would have heard his comments about Tracy to which Jayson responded, "A hundred or so?"

The interview with Jayson had been booked before his comments about Tracy and the show were made public as their right of reply for the segment that was produced last week about disgruntled travellers who were unable to get thousands of dollars back on cancelled trips.

When asked why he said what he said about Tracy, Jayson said, "As I said, I've apologised for those statements."

Brady asked, "But why did you say that, that was an awful comment from a man about a woman?"

"As I said, I've said what I'm going to say about that," Jayson said.

"You're a chief, no chief should talk like that, no person should talk like that. But you represent people, you represent customers, you represent a lot of agents right around this country," Brady said.

When asked if he regretted what he said, Jayson said, "I regret what I said, yes. Of course I regret what I said. And of course I've extended my unreserved apology for those statements."

Tracy said on the show, "Jayson Westbury's language was appalling and he's paid the price for it.

"But his members deserved better representation, and the board obviously came to the same conclusion [on Wednesday]."

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