Two years on, Nine and Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder have both made a grovelling apology to billionaire Gina Rinehart for The House of Hancock.
It follows Rinehart suing both companies for injurious falsehood and misleading and deceptive conduct.
Last week NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum dismissed the proceedings after the parties agreed to an out of court settlement. Each party will pay their own costs.
In a joint statement published on Nine’s website the companies said:
In February 2015, Nine broadcast a two part mini-series, produced by Cordell Jigsaw, about in particular, Mrs Gina Rinehart and her parents, Hope and Lang Hancock, and her husband, Frank Rinehart. That mini-series was a drama, not a documentary, and certain matters were fictionalised for dramatic purposes.
Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept that Mrs Rinehart had a very loving and close relationship with her mother, father and husband, and has with Hope and Ginia. They also acknowledge the significant contribution that Mrs Rinehart has made to Australia through her years of hard work and dedication and by her investment in this country, to its industry, economy and to the employment of Australians and by her longstanding support of elite sport and numerous worthwhile charities.
Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept that Mrs Rinehart found the broadcast to be inaccurate. That was certainly not the intention of Nine or Cordell Jigsaw, and each unreservedly apologises to Mrs Rinehart and her family for any hurt or offence caused by the broadcast and its promotion.
Reports now claim the miniseries won’t be released again on DVD, streamed, or sold overseas.
A statement from Hancock Prospecting said, “Mrs Rinehart and others who truly knew the Hancock family and Mrs Rinehart, were disappointed such an inaccurate and distorted miniseries against their family, family members who greatly contributed to our country, was aired by Channel Nine, which did not depict the actual people, and is pleased that she has received a public apology.
“This case was not about money. It was about Mrs Rinehart standing up for her deeply loved family members to try to stop the further spreading of unfair and grossly disgraceful falsehoods about her family, especially when certain of her family members are no longer here able to defend themselves.
“This matter was not just about the fundamental right of Mrs Rinehart and her family not to have lies and misrepresentations spread publicly about them, but Mrs Rinehart hopes that this matter will lead to the greater protection of others from such unfair conduct by the media and lead our politicians to activate long overdue reform in this area.”
The outcome will likely make it more difficult for bio-dramas to take dramatic license with their subjects.
The former husband of Ita Buttrose Alasdair Macdonald recently sued ABC over Paper Giants, claiming the miniseries depicted him as a ”man so threatened by the success of his wife that he deserted her and his family”. The case was settled out of court.