Foxtel has taken opportunity to slam Channel Nine over its Winter Olympics broadcast issuing a Press Release that claims Nine was airing an advertisement when Torah Bright won a Snowboarding Gold Medal.
It has also blasted Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy’s comments as “homophobic.”
Here is the release in full:
Aussie snowboarding glamour girl Torah Bright today won Australia’s 4th ever Winter Olympic Gold medal.
As Foxtel broadcast her history-making award ceremony over all four of their new Winter Olympic Channels, Channel Nine instead chose to air an advertisement for Woolworths – The Fresh Food People.
Channel Nine eventually aired the ceremony – some five minutes later – with Ken Sutcliffe telling viewers it was live.
This follows a disastrous 48 hours for the free-to-air network after hosts Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy made homophobic comments about two US ice skaters. These comments have now hit America’s second largest website Yahoo! Sport while the “Eddie McGuire is Ruining the 2010 Winter Olympics coverage” Facebook site now totals 3,340 fans – one thousand more than five hours ago.
Foxtel ’s ground-breaking coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games has set a new standard in sports broadcasting, and will continue to do so until the final day of competition.
A press release issued by Foxtel’s public relations department this afternoon criticising the Nine Network’s coverage of today’s Winter Olympics action is both erroneous and inflammatory.
Foxtel CEO Kim Williams has subsequently apologised to Nine CEO David Gyngell regarding the contents of the release, which Mr Williams described as “disgusting”, along with an undertaking that such behaviour will not be repeated.
In its release a Foxtel spokesperson asserted that Nine had been in a commercial break during the “history making award ceremony” for gold medalist Torah Bright, and that Nine presenter Ken Sutcliffe had minutes later presented that ceremony as “live”.
The later assertion is totally false, as the record shows. And the event referred to was in fact a flower presentation ceremony – not the medal presentation which Nine will cover live tomorrow.
The Nine Network covered Torah Bright’s winning gold medal run LIVE, as it did her first interview, and the first interview with her family. It did take a commercial break after that extended live sequence, but returned with the flower presentation ceremony in full, clearly indicating it had just taken place.
CEO David Gyngell pointed out that Nine was a commercial television station which provides free coverage, but must necessarily schedule ad breaks through extended live coverage.
“Our telecast of the Games has been first class, and the coverage of Torah Bright’s fantastic win was entirely appropriate in every respect. Nor do I make any apology for Nine running a Woolworths commercial after her event was completed, and post all the relevant interviews and replays of the event. That is a commercial reality. And Woolworths are a great sponsor of the Games.” he said.
Nine and Foxtel both made a joint bid for the Olympic rights to the IOC.