An 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…