Fake Conroy claims Telstra sacking

Fake Conroy claims Telstra sacking

Summary: The satirist behind the Fake Stephen Conroy online persona today claimed his employer Telstra had fired him, a claim Telstra immediately denied.


A clarification was made to this article. Please see the bottom of the article for more details.

update The satirist behind the Fake Stephen Conroy online persona today claimed his employer Telstra had fired him, a claim Telstra immediately denied.

Leslie Nassar

Leslie Nassar
(Image by Nick Hodge, CC 2.0)

"OK, I've been fired for contravening Telstra's AWA [Australian Workplace Agreement] that mandates that you don't criticise Telstra — ever — even in jest," Leslie Nassar wrote on Twitter this morning. Nassar has continued to use the Fake Stephen Conroy account since he revealed his real identity on 16 March, despite what he has said was disapproval from some within Telstra.

However, a Telstra spokesperson immediately denied the claim.

"Leslie Nassar has not been fired. However, we have started a disciplinary process against him — not because of his Fake Stephen Conroy blogs but because of his ongoing unauthorised public statements about Telstra, including abusive comments towards a Telstra staff member," they said.

On Twitter, Nassar claimed it was his latest article on his Department of Internets site that led to the claimed sacking. The article satirically outlined Nassar's action plan, in the unlikely event he was appointed Telstra chief executive to succeed incumbent Sol Trujillo.

Nassar's activities are understood to have been undertaken on his own behalf, with Telstra remaining ignorant of his hidden identity over the months that he has masqueraded as Fake Stephen Conroy.

In further postings this morning, Nassar, whose job title at Telstra was "senior emerging technology specialist (mobile)" defended senior Telstra executives he had worked with, such as chief technology officer Hugh Bradlow.

"Let me make it absolutely clear; the folks working in the CTO do extraordinary work. I'm sorry to lose my workmates," he wrote. "Hugh Bradlow and Greg Callaghan are both good, smart guys. They're enforcers in this, not puppet-masters."

Just one week ago, Telstra's social media chief Mick Hickinbotham wrote on the company's Now We Are Talking site that Nassar "will not be sacked as a result of his Fake Stephen Conroy twittering", but he noted Nassar would need to use an approach that was transparent and consistent with Telstra's policies on staff use of social networks.

"Leslie will disclose that he is a Telstra employee when touching on telecoms matters. That way, other users will be fully informed and can decide for themselves what to think of the tweet," he wrote.

Though, Hickinbotham also acknowledged that Nassar's managers had told him to stop using the FSC persona, independently of Telstra's media unit.

Nassar this morning pledged to continue his work despite the claimed sacking. "For what it's worth, this won't make me any more or less critical about Conroy, Telstra or anyone else," he wrote on Twitter.

Bad move
A number of other online writers immediately criticised what Nassar had said was Telstra's disciplinary action.

"Sacking Nassar is a bit of an own-goal for Telstra," said Crikey technology writer Stilgherrian.

"Last week, Mike Hickinbotham said Nassar wouldn't be sacked for his role as FSC. That was no lie: he's been sacked today for a separate breach of his AWA. But the punters won't see it that way. They'll see it as Telstra going back on its word."

Stilgherrian said Telstra was miles ahead of other telcos when it came to online engagement, but the disciplinary action reminded the public that "at their core they're still an old-fashioned command and control organisation; expecting everyone to check their personal opinions at the door and pretend every single Telstra products is perfection itself."

"Telstra needs creative people," Stilgherrian said, noting that creativity comes bundled with playfulness and irreverence, and even dissent.

"Telstra has just told every creative developer in Australia that they'll expect you to toe the line or be sacked. This won't help them recruit the best people," he said.

Mike Meloni, who runs the Somebody Think of the Children and NetAlarmed sites, which target Australian online censorship, also criticised Telstra.

"When I played a fake version of Stephen Conroy on NetAlarmed a year or two ago, my employer, an internet company, applauded the effort," he said. "After all, it wasn't my company I was satirising or criticising, it was the government. Leslie was also only satirising the government."

The initial headline of this article was "Telstra fires Fake Stephen Conroy". This headline has since been changed as we have verified that Nassar is, for now, still employed by Telstra.

Topics: Telcos, Telstra, Social Enterprise

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  • Fair's fair

    I suppose it is fair for a boss to request that his employees refrain from giving him stick. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

    Though by this bloke being sacked Telstra has just given him more ammunition to open up the big guns.
  • A feedback stick!

    It depends what your definition of stick is Mel. I challenge you on your statement; "you don't bite the hand that feeds you".Your statement implies that employees should be submissive. If your boss is a dictator, bully and/or psychopath they generally don't take any type of feedback to well and deflect and deny as well as blaming the messenger due to their deluded state of mind. It's a very state mental state such people live in and most will realize this at a later time in life.I think its very important to challenge your bosses thinking without fear or reprisal as that's what helps create change, innovation and growth. If a boss takes "stick" as criticism and they do not have a healthy emotional system they generally try to eliminate or ignore the target because of the denial they live in. Bosses should be genuinely open to feedback and listen to their employees even if it may be challenging from them to hear. They also should report back to their employees on what they heard and not make generalized statements (ie. lies) advocating that they do listen without providing any real data. Well respected bosses are great listeners, educators and take inspiration, change and growth from those very people who may hold that stick. Dictators, bully's and/or psychopaths will never have true respect from their shareholders, staff and customers and will see their fate sealed in the natural progression of KARMA.
  • Telstra

    they haven't a clue.
  • AWA


    Say no more.
  • Clarification

    I am sure you know what the formal meaning of 'copping stick' is Anonymous. Call it criticism, abuse, bullshit, negative appraisal, anything you like.

    If I lose faith with my boss I move to a better job. I consider that a better deal for me than sitting in someone else's chair collecting their money whilst bagging them. Why? Because it is better for me career-wise and the boss still has to find someone to replace me despite me leaving on good terms.
  • @ a feedback stick

    Don't bother anon, you are corresponding with a blinded, extreme right wing, nut, who truly believes in master/servant.

    In these people's minds, if the boss tells the employee (more commonly referred to as "the help or scum") to do 'anything', no matter how degrading or deliberately outside the scope of their substantive roll, the scum must obey!

    If not he/she is fired, period. Which to them, apparently equates to fair's fair.

    You will note that this particular right wing nut, incessantly attacks Telstra, but when it comes to Industrial Relations, he will back even Telstra against their employees (his fellow Australians, bit of Howard rhetoric to make him feel warm and fuzzy) especially unionized employees "every time".
  • AWA

    AWA - Attack Working Australians!
  • Further clarification

    "Call it criticism, abuse, bullshit, negative appraisal, anything you like". I wonder about your definition and ask you Is that behaviour you engage in? Seems very negative and blaming. What do you bring to the table? How is your attitude? Can you take on board feedback or do you deflect it? You write "if you lose faith in your boss you move to a better job?". I would actually suggest to you that you have no faith in yourself if you like to abuse your boss then run away! Its not better for you and demonstrates poor behaviour.
  • Clone Bradlow attempts a poor defence further confirming him to be an enforcer/

    Clone Bradlow demonstrated some key messages of the arrogant and dictatorship culture that is alive and well within the company.


    Dr Hugh Bradlow, Telstra's chief technology officer, says Leslie Nassar had neither "the credentials to be authoritative nor the manners to speak to his colleagues,"

    ---> In other words, I hold authority and more credentials over you and you WILL run everything by me because I'm better than you (possible Doctor arrogance, psychopathic and deluded behaviours).

    "Not because of his Fake Stephen Conroy blogs but because of his ongoing unauthorised public statements about Telstra, including abusive comments towards a Telstra employee," the statement said."

    ---> In other words, do not speak the truth about the company and leave it to our specialist spin doctors that abide by the master-slave principle. (Propaganda reserved for NWAT)

    "No organisation can tolerate an employee publicly ridiculing his colleagues or making public comment without either the credentials to be authoritative or having the manners to speak to his colleagues first."

    ---> In other words, I know everything and I speak for all organisations and I'll twist my words a little bit to make it sound good and I am personally ridiculed because I am unaware of my own state of mind (maniac episode) in that I am a brainwashed bully so you all better listen to my authority and run everything by me first because I am better than you. (deluded state of mind, expressing further authority and dictatorship behaviours).

    Bradlow, your comments further echo the sad state your company and many members are in.

    Free yourself from the master bully. Hopefully when Dennis is finally held to account the brainwashed may have an awakening and realise the sad state they have been living in.
  • The trolls are out from under the bridge again

    To the Anonymous troll:- The point I am trying to get across to you is that you don't have to be a boatrocker to get on in life. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile so why waste energy by being an abrasive, pigheaded left wing lunatic like Jason (and obviously you) when you can relax through your workday whilst still remaining productive and actually enjoy the week enough so that you don't spend the whole week counting down the seconds to the weekend.

    For the record I don't abuse my boss. I don't need to. Usually when I change jobs it is for better pay and promotions and I haven't failed at a job interview in the last 20 years so I must be doing something right. What about you?
  • And...

    I'll add that your mate KRudd is about to reintroduce Australia to a nation of high unemployment. I'd rather have a job and keep it than be on the dole.

    Think about it. Would you rather have a job or be sacked for standing up for the rights you think you have - ie telling your boss to stick his job up his clacker and actually not expecting to be sacked.

  • Correction

    "No organisation can tolerate an employee publicly ridiculing his colleagues or making public comment without either the credentials to be authoritative or having the manners to speak to his colleagues first."

    Assuming the employee is representing his employer when he makes said remarks. Someone going by the pseudonym Fake Steven Conroy can hardly be said to be representing Telstra

    Hmmm, what would someone who baits a master bully be called? :)
  • Further correction

    Mike.. you missed the point... remember Bradlow stated..

    "Not because of his Fake Stephen Conroy blogs but because of his ongoing unauthorised public statements about Telstra, including abusive comments towards a Telstra employee," the statement said.

    I agree with your comments..
    "Someone going by the pseudonym Fake Steven Conroy can hardly be said to be representing Telstra"

    You refer to it as bait? This is real my friend and no illusion. An interesting take and demonstrates your lack of knowledge or denial into the dictatorship bullying authoritarian management practices that have been consistent since the master bully has been in power. I used to work for the bullies. Did or do you?

    You can call me whatever you like. I have deep insight and knowledge into the company from various angles. Do you?
  • @The troll

    Wheres those debating tips (#10) liar?
  • Negative behaviour - Say no more!

    Ohhh. nasty ... Troll huh? Something hurting inside Mel. Deflection and denial perhaps?. I really see no need to comment as your poor behaviour speaks for itself. The sensible and healthy emotional people have always seen through your ramble. Remember there are plenty of services available in the public domain that can help you. If you worked for the company you could use EAP however they are trained to deflect liability for any work related issues and attempt to turn them into personal issues. Mens Help line, Lifeline, etc... Best wishes on your recovery to become more positive and optimistic about your future. Keep smiling. I am :)
  • And... some more irrelevant data just to further demonstrate your negativity!

    "I'll add that your mate KRudd is about to reintroduce Australia to a nation of high unemployment."

    So you are now showing your further destructive outlook on life as well as implying that KRudd is my mate. Mr Rudd is our PM and anybody that is our PM will gain my respect (labor or liberal) if they embrace a confident, positive and optimistic outlook for our nation and most importantly don't become submissive to bullies, just like you.

    Oh Mel.. things will get better for you if you make that change. You are a dying breed in a new world!
  • The real abusers

    ".... including abusive comments towards a Telstra employee," the statement said.

    Seriously Bradlow, what is the definition of abusive comments? I think your comments are abusive! Can you leave the company now? I have been witness to various managers deliberately and willfully verbally abusing employees F,S,C and all the words including getting personal and picking on people's weight and sexuality. Those bullies get promoted. Its just not right..

    So weak..So sad.. Enough is enough!
  • Abuse vs Behaviour

    Bradlow.. Just look at your advocator (Mel) and his engagement in personal abuse deflected from comments about his behaviour. Why did he then become personal? Commenting on behaviour is very different to personal attacks. If such individuals interpret comments about their behaviour to be personal attacks they should question their own actions and rationale. More times than not, if people defend feedback about their behaviour and further take it as abuse then they are not emotionally healthy individuals and are engaging in deflection and denial behaviour unconsciously and instinctively. The funny part is their abuse torwards the target is often a reflection of themselves. Denial is a remarkable thing. Its psychology and as a doctor I trust you understand human psychology.
  • Blah

    KRudd can never get the respect that John Howard attracts. Mr Howard is a statesman - the finest of their kind. Other world leaders respect him and listen to him.

    They don't listen to Kevin Rudd. Nor do they respect him. Even his chum Barack Obama only pays him light-hearted compliments about being a good economic manager. KRudd is a dud. He's an incompetant. He's a lousy manager - full stop. He couldn't manage a pissup in a brewery, even with his previous experience at haunting seedy nightclubs.

    Just calling it how I see it boys. Deal with it.

    You two are hare-brained galoots. You just comment for the sake of hearing your own voices, never say anything remotely relevant to the topic and just rave on with BS to worm your way out of self-inflicted embarrassment.
  • Look at yourself Anonymous

    Anyone that posts under the "Anonymous" tag are not only regarded as inferior by other people but also realise their own lack of self-worth and self-esteem. People who post under the "Anonymous" tag also lack credibility and the question must be asked as to what value do anonymous posters have when they don't contribute to discussions but instead just comment adversly on the views of others.

    If there is a problem then offer a solution. Otherwise it is better to remain silent and allow those with a brain to do the job for you.

    Instead of tossing yourself over your views on human psychology, which are a crock anyway, why not talk about Telstra? Maybe it is that you know nothing about either and you've been brought here by Jason to lower the average intelligence level of the ZDNet userbase...