2GB broadcaster and Nine personality Ben Fordham has accused ABC of backpedalling and ABC News boss Gaven Morris of lying over the Natasha Exelby saga.
“They pulled Natasha aside and decided that there would be no more on air opportunities for her at the ABC for now…. as a result of that mistake,” Fordham told listeners yesterday.
“(Monday night) they released a statement saying, ‘Natasha Exelby is a casual contributor. Not a staff member. She has been booked for occasional on air shifts when needed, and also does other occasional shifts for the ABC News channel. Contributors work out their shifts with managers on a per needs basis. Details of individual shifts are confidential to them and not something the ABC publicly comments on.’
“So they were neither confirming not denying the fact that Natasha Exelby had been punted because of the TV blooper.”
But yesterday the saga had triggered a huge reaction including from viewers, politicians and fellow journalists, with the latter all tweeting their worst offences.
#PutYourBloopersOut hashtag in support of Exelby has now attracted journo misdemeanours from around the globe, including the UK and USA.
In a new statement yesterday Gaven Morris denied she had been sacked or banned.
“No one would ever be punished for a blooper and, while it isn’t appropriate to publicly discuss confidential details of people’s personal work arrangements, this has not happened to Natasha,” he said in a statement.
But Fordham described it as backpedalling.
“The ABC started panicking. But instead of coming out and saying ‘Ok, ok. Someone within the organisation made a mistake, someone over-reacted,’ they released a new statement today telling everyone that the reports about Natasha Exelby were wrong.
“I’m here to tell you this afternoon the ABC is lying,” he continued.
“I know this because I know exactly what was said to Natasha Exelby and she was being told she was being taken off the air as a result of that blooper.
“The ABC is spreading fake news over its treatment of Natasha Exelby.”
News Corp’s Holly Byrnes, who broke the story, also protested to Morris.
— Holly Byrnes (@byrnesh) April 11, 2017
Morris conveyed his regret to Exelby that the incident had attracted so such attention.
But for Exelby any publicity has been good publicity, with the offer of a brand new gig at KIIS FM.
News anchors are confessing to their most embarrassing on-air bloopers in solidarity with a presenter https://t.co/SSqnf99hQo
— TIME (@TIME) April 11, 2017
— Breakfast Television (@BTCalgary) April 11, 2017
— Steef van Stiphout (@Stevo1979) April 11, 2017
— Anthony Lucas (@AnthonyLucas30) April 11, 2017