The ABC Apologised To Chris Kenny Over The Whole Chaser Ordeal

Lets rewind here for a bit and track down exactly what the hell has happened. Last September, during its election coverage, the team from The Chaser broadcast a skit on their program The Hamster Decides that depicted NewsCorp affiliated journalist Chris Kenny fucking a dog. The photo was crudely doctored and was on screen for roughly 4 seconds in total. The skit was aired in response to Kenny’s attacking of the ABC, suggesting that the (then newly elected) Abbott Government aught to consider cutting funding to the public broadcaster. Chris Kenny was none too pleased with this depiction and demanded launched litigation against the network, and requested an immediate apology. The ABC, for its part, reviewed the sketch and deemed it to be a little unsavoury, but not in breach of their standards for satire. The Supreme Court subsequently gave the go ahead for Kenny to sue the ABC for defamation, but rejected Kenny’s claims that the clearly photoshopped image gave anyone the impression that Kenny really fucks dogs, which Kenny appealed against, presumably to stem the flow of bestiality-related targeted ads that now keep popping up on his Facebook feed.

Now, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott has finally issued the apology that Chris Kenny has been seeking all along. In a statement released on the ABC website, Scott stated, “I wish to apologise to Mr Chris Kenny for the controversial ‘The Hamster Decides’ skit run by ABC-TV in September last year.
At the time of broadcast, I described the skit as tasteless and undergraduate, but noted that it raised questions about the nature of satire and the boundaries of free speech afforded to satirists, comedians and cartoonists.
” “Having reviewed the issue, in my opinion it falls short of the quality demanded by our audience and normally delivered by our programming. While Mr Kenny is a strong and persistent critic of the ABC, and can expect to be a subject of satire, the depiction of him was very strong in the context of the satirical point attempted.”
The lengthy delay in the delivery of this apology, it would seem, was due to the ABC not wanting to jump any guns whilst the matter is still being mulled over by the good folk at the Australian Communications and Media Authority. But with a looming federal budget fast approaching, and with Kenny having backers in high places, it seems a peace accord was the smarter move to protect the greater good, that being a fully funded and functional ABC. A little bit of lost face now to prevent the loss of dollars in the future. Because this is the world we live in where the ABC is an ant-hill, and the Government is a meek child with a magnifying glass being egged on by the bigger kids.
For his part, Kenny stated to Mumbrella today, “It’s taken seven months but I was pleased to finally get a call and an apology from Mark Scott today. I have instructed my lawyers to try to settle this matter as soon as possible.
You can read Mark Scott’s statement in full via this link.
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams via Getty Images.