Western Power senior exec allegedly filmed coughing on train passengers

Western Power executive Peter Kerr (coughing)
Western Power executive Peter Kerr

A senior executive at a West Australian state-owned power company has allegedly been filmed coughing on passengers on a train but claims he had sausage stuck in his throat, according to news.com.au.

In the video, Western Power executive manager Peter Kerr can be seen with his mask lowered, leaning forward and appearing to forcefully cough towards other passengers.

The vision was originally posted on LinkedIn by an employee of Rio Tinto, tagging Western Power with the caption “leadership at its finest”.

Kerr, a former journalist at the West Australian and the Australian Financial Review, replied to the video, saying he had “some sausage stuck” in his throat from a friend’s barbecue earlier in the day.

“I’m really sorry. I’m actually embarrased (sic) to say I had some sausage stuck in my throat and thought I was going to bring it up, which is why I was standing near the open doors,” he said.

“I’m always vigilant about wearing masks but as I say I thought I was going to bring something up. As you can see, I did try to cover my mouth. But acknowledge that would have been gross. Apologies again,” he wrote.

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In an email obtained by The Australian sent to all employees at Western Power by Mr Kerr, he said he was at the end of a “coughing spell”.

“I need to address an incident which is quite embarrassing personally, and has mushroomed into something bigger than I thought it would,” he said.

“I was at the end of a coughing spell and temporarily had my mask down with my hands covering my mouth while coughing. It was unpleasant and bad manners on my part. Some have taken it as a deliberate action of coughing on people. I’m horrified at the suggestion, given the emerging challenges our community faces.”

Several of Mr Kerr’s colleagues at Western Power commented on the thread, one saying it was “disgraceful behaviour”.

A risk and resilience manager simply said “Oh my god!”

One person who commented on the post said there had been a “verbal altercation” between Mr Kerr and other passengers, who were not wearing masks and had just attended a “freedom rally”.

“That’s what prompted them to start filming. I hope you lose your job for this despicable act,” the person wrote.

A spokeswoman for Western Power told The Australian Kerr was “suffering from a coughing incident, and has apologised”.

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