In September of last year the ABC comedy program The Hamster Decides included a picture, which was later revealed to have been doctored, of a smiling Chris Kenny straddling the rear-end of a domestic dog during a segment on calls for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation budgets to be cut. Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones has heard a statement of claim filed by Mr Kenny who believes that the “Chris Dog Fucker Kenny” image was defamatory and is seeking to sue the ABC, presenter Andrew Hansen and their Giant Dwarf production company.
Around the time of airing Media Watch included the segment in their program and concluded that they “found nothing satirical or clever in the suggestion that Kenny, who is one of the ABC’s noisiest critics has sex with animals.” With respect to Media Watch host Paul Barry, it does seem an unforgivable slight against the person skilled enough in Photoshop or MS Paint to doctor such a picture (a reminder: it was found that the picture had, in fact, been manipulated), to suggest there was no cleverness behind the segment.
Elsewhere, Mr. Kenny’s son Liam Kenny penned a piece in defense of the picture asking “was it really so offensive?,” to which he replied on Twitter: “I am proud of my children, love them deeply, and encourage them to think for themselves.” Cute.
During the proceedings Justice Beech-Jones opined that the picture was “about as extreme a form of ridicule as you can get” and continued by asking “What has he done to deserve this?” What indeed. He went on to ask: “Looking at the position of the viewer, what is the viewer meant to understand is the reason Mr Kenny has been singled out in this way?”
Ultimately he ruled that, whilst the image could reasonably be found to have “defamatory imputations,” it does not show him to be a “pervert who had sex with dogs”. He also upheld the argument, put forth by the ABC, that “the reasonable viewer could not possibly consider that such a lightweight show as this would be the forum for exposing bestiality”.
Kenny who believes “the ABC lacks accountability, doesn’t give us value for money, always attacks targets on the right, never on the left” now has seven days to decide between settling out of court or pursuing the case through to a last round decider four-person jury hearing.
In case you missed it, see this edit of Mr. Kenny’s response including original “up a dog” footage, which we have included for journalism reasons:
Image via Getty