Parents to seek legal action over baby photo on Footy Show

fatty-and-sterloNine has declined to comment after The Footy Show (NRL) used a Facebook photo of a baby without parental permission, saying she resembled Nine commentator Peter Sterling.

Michael and Melanie Richmond, from Avalon NSW, will seek legal action, after their 18 month old daughter Bella was branded “ugly” by one of the panellists.

“We were going to let it go but we can’t. Someone has put our baby on TV. We want to get some feedback on what our legal options are now,” Michael Richmond told News Limited.

The image was taken from his wife’s Facebook account.

“I understand how Facebook works and that when you share photos they become public and there’s nothing you can do,” he said.

“I know it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek but she’s just a baby. It’s not cool.”

A Nine spokeswoman declined to comment.

UPDATE: On their Facebook page, a statement contradicts the News Ltd report:

Regarding recent articles in News Ltd papers, the Look-A-Likes photo was sent into The Footy Show by a friend of the family and not taken off Facebook. We chose not to make a statement to News Ltd yesterday but we did not refuse to apologise to the family and we did speak to the family on Friday and will do so again today to reassure them we never intended to cause hurt to them or their child and of course apologise if it did.


  1. This is clearly not a pleasant thing for any parent to experience but as a few others have pointed out on here, the main thing that has been achieved by the parents seeking legal advice is that now everyone in the country is aware of this story and are seeing the photos of the baby. The Footy Show (RL) panel are complete idiots and are obviously ethically deficient here but I think they are within the boundaries of the law.

  2. The child was once an anonymous photo on TV now thanks to the parents she is anonymous no more.Small price to pay I suppose when the $$$$ signs start popping up…

  3. muscledude_oz

    All this hoo-ha about a pic of a baby yet not a peep about an uncensored nude pic of a footballer later in the show. Not that I’m saying that there should have been complaints about the footballer’s pic but I can’t help thinking that if the father hadn’t jumped up and down about the baby pic the Telegraph would now be jumping up and down about “porn on TV”.

  4. It was one thing to say the child looked like Sterlo, quite another to call her “ugly”. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t be offended by someone calling them or their child ugly, so the “never meant to offend” line should really read “we never thought the parents would find out”.

  5. Secret Squirrel

    The parent’s first mistake was putting their baby’s photo up on FB. Their second was alerting the media so that now all of us who are smart enough to not watch The Footy Show can also form an opinion about the accuracy of the statement about the baby’s ugliness.

    The father has said that he is a fan of the show and I wouldn’t mind betting that he would have laughed out loud if it was someone else’s baby. I’m no fan of the program, and the segment was in poor taste (like most of the show), but I don’t think the parents have a leg to stand on. However, they might want to unfriend somebody.

  6. All the family has done is make the story a news item, which has gone global. And it is perfectly legal to report the story, their name and show the photo as news.

  7. It is common knowledge that what you share in a public domain online will always be just that public. there are steps you can take to protect your privacy on facebook, the fact is someone obviously submitted the page to the footy show, now I do agree that they should have asked permission, but they didn’t need to, again public access. this is a couple hoping that by causing a fuss channel 9 will get out the cheque book, there is one problem though… channel 9 is broke… bad luck on a settlement parents.

  8. Nobody should condemn the woman for posting photos of her children on Facebook. I post photos of my daughter on Facebook so that family and friends can keep up with their progress. I am, however, smart enough to restrict access to my profile. Therefore I know if my photo shows up on television, I need to unfriend the moron that tipped off Channel 9!

    Not sure she has a legal leg to stand on here.

  9. The parents haven’t helped the situation by running to the media complaining.
    If you’re going to sue then contacts lawyers,not the media.

    BTW if my kid was compared to Sterlo I’d sue too.
    If they compared them to Fatty I’d be in that studio in a flash knocking a few heads in 😉

  10. Whether or not the image is seen as being in the public domain is, imo, irrelevant. Let’s get this straight:

    a. a bunch of sports has-beens broadcast an image of a baby,
    b. the baby was not a dependent of anyone on, or connected with, that television program/channel,
    c. they ridiculed the baby’s appearance,
    d. the baby had no right of reply,
    e. the has-beens knew what they were doing.

    The obvious question is “who was the smart-assed moppet who thought criticizing a baby was ok?”

    Time some of these ex-sports-stars were put out to pasture.

  11. Let’s face it. Niether of channel 9’s footy shows are funny. But I don’t think the parents have any legal recourse, except maybe copyright law?

  12. Clearly only an imbecile would call any baby ugly.
    Regardless that it may be on “public” view on Facebook this does not give CH9 the right to slander and vilify any child.
    Any wonder i haven’t watched this show for over a decade and certainly won’t be in the future.

  13. I agree the parents need to take responsibility too. But seriously – ridiculing a baby on national tv? That’s low, even for those morons on the footy show.

  14. The Other Adam

    Take it up with the “Friend” that provided the photo to the Footy Show…. or better yet, adjust your privacy settings accordingly

  15. It’s understandable the parents would be upset, but if they make their profiles public then they’re open to public criticism.

    But really, The Footy Show and Nine crossed a line. It’s a baby. And what a waste of anguish (and likely money) as that segment isn’t funny anyway.

  16. Stupid parents, put their child’s photo on Facebook for the world to see and it ends up on an australian tv show???……. take responsibility!

  17. “Someone has put our baby on TV.”
    If you “understand how Facebook works and that when you share photos they become public and there’s nothing you can do”….then…why do it?!

  18. When I read this paragraph on your homepage I was really confused about the story.

    The parents of an 18 year old baby will seek legal action after The Footy Show (NRL) used a Facebook photo without permission.

    I realise now it was a typo when I clicked on the story.

  19. What nine did was not right, but…. those parents put the photograph on a “Public” website, with the photo “Publicly” viewable, so anyone can view the photo…. just nine shouldn’t have put on TV, but I don’t believe they needed permission to show a publicly viewable photo.

    but….wait for dem bleeding hearts.

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