Game on: Former ABC host slams axing as “a lie”

ggAn online stoush has broken out between the team at ABC2’s Good Game and former co-host Jeremy ‘Junglist’ Ray (pictured, left).

Ray was let go by the gaming show after three years hosting beside Stephen ‘Bajo’ O’Donnell (pictured, right) and replaced with Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixsen.

On Monday Amanda Duthie, Head of Arts and Entertainment told TV Tonight, “After three years, we felt Good Game needed a refresh to take the program into 2010 and beyond, and the decision was made to change the hosting team.”

This week fans of the show have rallied behind Junglist writing furious protests online, initiaing a Facebook support group and starting a petition. Many have criticised the move as being a token move to instil a female presenter.

Amid the fury, the Good Game team posted a united message on their ABC messageboard, attempting to allay a viewer backlash. But under confidentiality it was unable to offer much detail on what had gone down recently, or indeed taken place behind the scenes for most of this year.

“For all sorts of reasons we are unable to tell you things that have happened over many months inside Team Good Game which have impacted on the production. That’s just real life folks. We know it leaves many questions unanswered but we have reached that point where we really can’t say any more than that.

“But we can tell you this much…

“The decision to take Junglist off air was not forced upon us by ABC Management and it’s one that is fully supported by all the GG team. We are gutted that it has come to this but in our opinion it absolutely had to happen.”

With such a public, if coy, statement, Junglist reponded on the same forum, calling the statement a blatant lie.

“In fact, the GG team was completely unaware of the change until the same day I found out. The same confidentiality clause that prevented me from saying anything publicly, prevented management from telling them anything,” he wrote.

“I have spoken to members of the GG team who clearly DON’T support this, but can’t say anything publicly. Of course they’ll tow the party line. They have to.”

Junglist says the decision was forced by ABC management.

“I feel now as if I’m being professionally attacked, so here’s a truth bomb. In the meeting where I was told I would be replaced, the reason given was they wanted a girl on the show. ‘Mass appeal’ was a direct quote from that meeting. After a half-hour of explaining how they’ll lose their hardcore following, they responded that yes, they knew this, but expected to make up the numbers with a new following. ‘A show can grow beyond its hardcore base’, is another direct quote.”

As fans grew more angry, his co-host Bajo weighed in, saying, “We have felt professionally attacked by some of the posts by Jung, with the inability to reply due to confidentiality. So we cannot drop our own ‘truth bomb’. While Junglist may have his own version of events, so do we, and all we ever wanted to do was work with him but it’s not to be, and we are exhuasted by the whole thing, and just want to move on.”

Producer Syd (who is female) added, “Jung mate, I’m sorry to say it but you are wrong… no one on the team feels we have to tow the party line here – no one has been coerced into doing or saying anything they don’t want to. Sure we didn’t all find out till you did – but that does not mean we don’t feel it’s the right thing to do for the show. That’s the truth we need to swallow here… as bitter a taste as it might leave in our mouths.”

So while some fans are likening the split to a bitter parental divorce, new presenter Hex has walked into an impossible situation.

When asked about the online feud, an ABC spokesperson hinted to TV Tonight there were a number of background factors that were not immediately evident  and that the network stood by the Good Game team’s statement.

In an online arena it would seem there are many who are keen to contribute to the debate from all sides, if not necessarily positioned to give the full picture.

Meanwhile Good Game appears to have a battle much bigger than World of Warcraft or Resident Evil 5 could ever imagine…

47 Comments:

  1. When Jung was “let go” I wrote an angry letter alleging that the ABC was clearly making a gratuitous grab at new market share by dumbing down the format with inexperience and dross. It seems I was right. I have continued, on and off, to watch the show I’ll never get that time back 🙁

    Camera angles that put Hex in the foreground, episodes dumbing down Bajo’s gaming knowledge (so that hex didn’t look like a total and utter noob), the advent of a fricken robot (the show is co-hosted by a robot), and the dross goes on and on….ABC, I am a gamer not an idiot and i am tired of this ridiculous slapstick formulaic dross – No more for me ABC…game over!

    Please, if any Australian tv station with any integrity would like to stand up and hive the real gaming community a program of substance please do so. The gaming industry is worth it! The tech industry is worth it. Let’s bring some serious cred to the format with a show worthy of being viewed by gamers.

  2. I’m only a very occassional viewer (obviously because I’m commenting a couple of years later apparently?!), but every time I’ve caught it lately I’ve thought ‘dear god where has the other dude gone??’. The girl is terrible, sorry, and junglist (lol just learnt his name) was the best part of the show. Not worth watching now IMO.

  3. i agree with Neon Kitten about how ABC have just held their tongue to possibly save their own skin but since every fan doesn’t hold all facts how can they throw these hurtful remarks. I feel that maybe ABC might be holding information to avoid embarrassment if Ray did act badly off scene and he may be lashing out to portray him as the victim. i hope that isn’t the truth but it is a possibility. but i read somewhere that one reason he was sacked because he was slowing down the process of the reviews. he wanted to in depth research into the games(play them longer) to gain more knowledge to make a better review yet ABC (not GG) were considering this a inefficient process.

  4. geeze i’m just the mum of a medium core gamer and even i think she is Boring.
    Bring back Jung and some depth in reviewing. Just send him to the gym to get buff if you want a new fan base 🙂

  5. Hex, this woman should be ashamed, she’s selling herself to put a face and body on a show so that she can be perved at, she’s set herself up to be objectified and that’s the only reason. She’s not better than Junglist (the only real reason to replace him) she’s just a perving object, she should be ashamed of herself.

    • Whilst it’s one thing to defend Junglist, I think it’s another to attack Hex, and particularly to make it personal. I don’t see how she has put herself there to be ‘objectified’ at all. Would suggest you focus on her skills or direct your aim at management.

  6. Get it right, kids

    No-one seems aware that the term ‘tow the line’ in completely incorrect. It’s ‘toe the line’. Consider the likely reason behind the cliche and it all becomes clear (to anyone who payed attention in history class or has cracked a book written before 1990).

  7. ABC have always been non trasnparent, don’t get excited that it’s some new trait or behaviour. He obviously irritated someone and they got their own back, be it a Board member or just the producers daughter, who knows. Many great people and shows on ABC have been shafted in the past, it comes down to no real boss in the Packer style able to protect their golden goose personalities e.g. Ray, Laurie etc.

    Ask Tony Martin for an opinion on the ABC and talent management, he’d be the expert on the matter.

  8. Here’s a challenge include the words Amanda + Duthie + token + female in a comment on the above ABC forum and have it published.The ABC is like the rest of the Media,dont like it when the truth gets a bit close to the bone.

  9. Good to see this getting more reporting. Total BS that the only gamer left on a show about gaming has been axed. So much for “for gamers by gamers”. Replacing a hardcore gamer and the only good reviewer on the show with a know-nothing scenester shows how out of touch the ABC is.

    #abcfail #ggtv

  10. I feel bad for both Jung and Baj. They were both obviously good mates but with this stoush, it’s torn them apart and hurt Jung. The forums are currently exploding with opinions, some taking Jung’s side, the other are taking Good Game’s side, but no one is taking ABC’s side. It’s a pretty general consensus that ABC is now hated by Good Game fans.

    No one takes issue with Hex – she has done a wonderful job, but it’s the way Jung was turfed out that has fans in an uproar. It’s all very shady as the real reason for why Jung was fired won’t be released because of confidentiality agreements etc.

    But I feel that it is tearing the Good Game community apart, and that is the worst thing about this. Friends are disagreeing and fighting, and I don’t think it will ever be the same.

    But then again none of us can make informed decisions without knowing the full story. I honestly hope Jung will find another program and I will gladly follow him there, but I won’t stop watching Good Game because they switched to a female presenter. Bajo is still there, and that counts.

  11. Ultimately I think this was a sexist move, albeit not your typical case of gender-based discrimination. It also goes against what the abc supposedly stands for, which is equality. Even if he wasn’t ‘pulling his weight’ behind the scenes, he certainly was on screen.

  12. I’m with Neon in regards to the ABC and their complete non-transparency in this matter, I do not however agree regarding Hex.

    I found myself drifting off when she was talking because she just wasn’t that interesting, I also noticed her looks to camera and autocue reading style. I am also sick to death of the idiotic, immature response of ‘she’s cool coz she a hot girl with boobies’ – if you are that desperate google some porn.

    Anyway back to the main point. I feel the ABC has been very rude in this matter and can only hope Jung can move onto bigger and better things.
    Regarding the time management issue (whether this had anything to do with things or not) I got the feeling he wanted more time for reviews than the ABC was willing to give, even though some games these days require hours and hours before you even make a dent.

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