Raw Audio: Tour Guide Fired Over Hobbit Incident, Union Membership
Scoop has obtained audio of a conversation recorded by tour guide and Actor's Equity member with his employer regarding his work as a Hobbit tour guide.
A member of Actors Equity has been sacked as a Wellington tour guide for reportedly making a derogatory comment about the filming of The Hobbit movies.
But Todd Rippon said he made no such comment and that his prominent role within the union was behind his dismissal.
He said a staff member from Absolutely Positively Wellington Tourism claimed he said something derogatory about the movie while escorting a group of international journalists for the premiere of the first Hobbit movie.
Mr Rippon said that when he confronted his employer, Rover Tours Ltd, he was told he could not work for the company while a member of Actors' Equity.
Rover Tours owner Scott Courtney would not comment on what he called an employment matter.
Helen Kelly, CTU President has said in a statement that losing your job for being a union member is illegal and unfair, and she is deeply concerned at the involvement of Positively Wellington in the process.
The conversation includes discussion of Rippon's earlier resignation offer following the incident, whether membership of the actors' union could be counted against his employment as a tour guide and whether tourism agencies had put pressure on the company.