Nine: “Network can’t comment on how matters were dealt with in the past”

Nine has distanced itself from allegations surrounding former Burke’s Backyard presenter Don Burke.

The joint Fairfax / ABC investigation, which spoke to more than 50 people, published explosive allegations surrounding harassment and bullying.

Burke has denied all the claims, which he attributes to disgruntled employees, and lawyered up. Whilst industry chatter has often referred to him as a tough boss (a point he acknowledges), today’s allegations go much further.

Burke’s Backyard was produced in-house for 4 years at Nine before Burke’s-own CTC Productions took over from 1991  2004. Backyard Blitz, also produced by CTC, made TV stars of Jamie Durie and Scott Cam.

Despite the suggestion some of the allegations took place during the in-house years, Nine told Fairfax / ABC, “Burke’s Backyard was a production of CTC Productions and they employed and managed all staff.”

The story also includes on the record quotes from legendary ex-Nine execs Sam Chisholm, David Leckie and Peter Meakin.

This morning Today Extra told viewers, “A statement from the Nine Network says the network can’t comment on how matters were dealt with in the past and says these allegations are serious and would not be tolerated at the network today.”

Two weeks ago at the Screen Forever conference Nine CEO Hugh Marks was asked about harassment within the network.

“The culture is one of creativity, openness, supportiveness. Can I say categorically that there were no issues that happened within the business? You never know. Things that were hidden can be hidden,” he conceded.

“But I think I can say with some confidence that the environment of the business and culture of the place is very supportive of a culture that I would endorse, and a culture we should have in our industry.

“I’m sure there were problems 20 years ago, I’m sure there are things that will come out in the public that will talk to those problems. But from where I sit right now, I feel like we’ve got an excellent culture that supports diversity, equality and all those things that are important.”

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