ABC’s The Checkout is facing a defamation suit from the family behind Swisse vitamins.
Fairfax reports Avni Sali, the father of Swisse chief executive Radek Sali, claims he was ‘‘severely injured in his reputation and standing’’ after an episode last month in which Craig Reucassel said a case of Swisse’s product ‘‘highlights everything that’s wrong with the regulation of natural medicines in Australia’’.
A writ filed with the Victorian Supreme Court claims that The Checkout defamed him by saying he ‘‘manipulated’’ clinical tests of a Swisse appetite suppressant to benefit the company.
Reucassel, Julian Morrow, and CJZ executive producer Nick Murray and the ABC are named as defendants.
“We deny all the ridiculous imputations and will be defending it vigorously,” said Murray.
It’s the first legal case for The Checkout, but not the first time The Chaser team has faced legal hurdles.
The Checkout, which premiered 6 weeks ago, has 4 lawyers listed on its closing credits.
UPDATED: In a statement the ABC said:
The ABC can confirm that on April 26 defamation proceedings were brought against the ABC, Craig Reucassel, Julian Morrow and Nick Murray re: a recent segment on ABC1’s The Checkout.
The plaintiff is Professor Avni Sali, father of the CEO of Swisse Vitamins.
The proceedings concern a segment on Complementary Medicines which aired in Episode 1 of The Checkout (Thursday March 21 at 8pm on ABC1).
ABC is preparing its response to the claim but stands by the broadcast.
Craig Reucassel said “We look forward to these claims being independently tested in court.”
Julian Morrow distanced himself from Craig’s comments for legal reasons and because he wants to star in a Swisse advert one day.
No further comment will be made at this time.