Staff fury as cash-crisis Channel 4’s boss runs up £20,700 bill for luxury trips to Oscars and film festivals
- Channel 4’s chief executive flew business class to go to the Academy Awards
- For four months from January 1 her expenses came to a total of £20,762.52
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Channel 4 spent thousands of pounds funding a lavish trip to the Oscars for its chief executive despite axeing programmes, leaving staff unable to pay their rent.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that her expenses for four months from January 1 came to a total of £20,762.52 of which £10,765.05 was spent on air fares.
On top of her trip to the US, Ms Mahon, who last year earned £1.2 million, flew business to Tel Aviv to attend meetings, where her hotel bill for five nights came to £4,691.03, and jetted first-class to Nice for a film festival.
Channel 4 staff, fearing for their jobs after the cash-strapped network axed a number of programmes, are furious about the trips. One told this newspaper: ‘As usual Alex does what she wants.
Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon attend the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood with chairman of Film4 Daniel Battsek (right) and its director Ollie Madden
Alex Mahon (centre) flew business class to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards in March and spent three nights in a hotel at a cost of more than £1,000 a night
‘Nobody can really work out why she had to go to the Oscars, but if she did why did she have to use company money to pay for her cosy flight.
‘And as for her hotel, who needs to spend £1,000 a night when they’re there to watch an awards show?’
The expenses bills come as television production companies have been left in dire straits after Channel 4 cancelled a number of its shows with little notice.
Last week this newspaper revealed how staff were blaming the cash crisis on Ms Mahon’s No2, chief content officer Ian Katz, whose expenses bill for the first four months of this year came to £8,267.43.
His critics at Channel 4 say he wasted money on expensive shows such as Rise And Fall.
The reality series hosted by Greg James, which was described as a social experiment that looks at how money and power influence us, cost £14 million to make.
But its format was dubbed ‘questionable’ by one reviewer and ratings show it was a turn-off for viewers.
Meanwhile, despite its much publicised reboot, another Channel 4 reality show Four Weddings was axed just days into filming, leaving staff working on the project with no work and unable to pay their bills.
Alex Mahon last year earned £1.2 million as Channel 4’s chief executive
With financial difficulties mounting owing to a slump in advertising income, the network has canned filming further episodes of Naked Attraction and cancelled groundbreaking medical documentary Rescue: Extreme Medics.
Meanwhile payments to production companies that make its shows are being deferred.
The channel’s audience sunk to a record low in May, with its network viewer share standing at just 4.48 per cent, which is said to be the worst four-week period in the commercial broadcaster’s 40-year history – prompting panic among the broadcaster’s bosses.
Earlier this year the then Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan decided against privatising the channel after reviewing the business case for its sale. One of the cases put forward to stave off the sale was that it funds independent production companies.
A Channel 4 spokesman said: ‘It’s normal practise for companies to cover expenses when employees attend business events and meetings.’ He dismissed suggestions of a financial crisis as ‘laughable.’