ABC has apologised after the identities of three assault victims and survivors were revealed without their consent in an embargoed screener for an upcoming documentary about #MeToo in Australia, Buzzfeed and News.com.au revealed in a joint investigation.
The preview screener for Silent No More, presented by journalist Tracey Spicer, was released to a select number of media outlets last month. The released footage failed to blur out the names and personal information of the survivors, as snippets of their private Facebook conversations with Spicer were used as part of the documentary.
Two of the survivors said they had no idea the documentary existed in the first place, let alone given consent for their conversations to be used. The third survivor accidentally identified in the documentary passed away some time after contacting Spicer.
ABC has since released a statement:
“Due to human error, an early version of Silent No More was provided to a small number of accredited media under embargo. Significant steps were taken to de-identify names and details in the broadcast version and it has always been our intention that these names and details be blurred before broadcast.”
Spicer said that she was “utterly gutted” by the error.
“As a participant in this documentary, I was assured survivors’ identities would be fully protected,” she stated. “I apologise deeply and unreservedly to those whose names were visible in that initial version of the program. I’m relieved that the ABC has swiftly moved to take it down and that no one is identified in the broadcast version.”
Silent No More is a three-part series that will premiere on the ABC November 25 8.30pm. The documentary will be an amended version without the survivors identified.