tip off

‘Bali boy’ in grubby TV rights deal: are Nine’s cameras ready to roll?

On Sunday it was a done deal …

By yesterday it was all a beat-up …

And today nobody is talking about whether the Nine Network has opened its chequebook for the family of the now infamous “Bali boy”. Except television rivals, who insist the deal has been done and cameras are set to roll once the teenager accused of marijuana possession has been judged.

Nine issued a terse “no comment” to Crikey this morning after repeated requests to clarify recent denials that a deal has been signed. But Channel Seven’s veteran news boss Peter Meakin insists the contract was signed last week.

Meakin told Crikey yesterday Seven was sounded out about a chat with the family for its Sunday Night program but refused to pay a fee given it was a criminal case. “We said we were interested but not using money,” he said.

A Seven source confirms: “That was our decision from the get-go.”

And anyway, Meakin said he couldn’t see the value in an interview before any conviction and one that couldn’t name the minor in question: “I didn’t think there was much appeal in running an interview without disclosing his identity.”

According to a source involved at one point in the negotiations, celebrity agent Grant Vandenberg approached the networks in early October, soon after the 14-year-old was arrested, with a starting price of “at least $100,000”. A joint media deal was suggested, with interviews on television and in a magazine.

The weekend reports from unnamed sources at Nine suggest a $300,000 deal, with an interview to run on 60 Minutes and Nine Entertainment Co title Women’s Day.

Vandenberg, who said yesterday a deal with Nine is yet to be signed, wasn’t returning calls this morning. The former corporate spinner and freelance agent has 2GB hot head Alan Jones and Oscar winner Russell Crowe on his books, and represented former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld during his legal troubles.

Parents of the NSW teenager issued a statement yesterday through the boy’s lawyers “vigorously” denying they have sealed any media deal that would profit from their “son’s misfortune”. The statement said the father is a successful businessman who ”does not need the money that has been suggested”.

One source says a deal may have unravelled after the leak to the media, when the parents realised they may not be able to keep the proceeds due to laws against profiting from crime and that it may jeopardise chances for a light sentence.

From the Indonesian perspective, they’re no doubt thinking that they have bent over backwards — personal intercession from the Justice Minister, expedited court case, better conditions than most, etc — and, in the light of all of this, to see the boy and his family likely profiting from the crime has/will no doubt tick them off,” they suggested.

So what might well have happened is that when the shit hit the fan on Sunday and the worst consequences became starkly apparent everyone decided to deny everything. Which, if these suspicions are true, is probably where we are now.”

Another scenario being suggested is Vandenberg struck a deal with Nine through network spinner David Hurley, who is believed to be close to the agent, without telling the family. Hurley told other media yesterday there is “categorically no deal”.

Prosecutors will recommend a sentence for the NSW teenager on Friday. He was found with 3.6 grams of cannabis and is pleading for no charges to be laid.

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  • 1
    SusieQ
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    What a murky mess. Clearly the commercial networks have no boundaries on who they will exploit. However, it takes two to tango - lets hope the parents think again about profiting from all this (if they have in fact done a deal) - how could they do that to their child?
    Certainly an interview I would not watch.

  • 2
    Whistleblower
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The really revolting thing about this whole sordid business is that programs like 60 Minutes hold up a mirror to society and it’s not a good look. In order to flog tampons and toothpaste, the media will prostitute itself and degrade any decency standard in order to gain the attention of the fickle consuming public.

    They know that the public as voyeurs will tune in to the program in exploiting this situations and the advertising sales managers will rub their hands with glee. The situation has some parallels with the death of Princess Dianawhere reportedly advertising executives in one of our major television channels were jumping for joy at the prospect of the tripling of spot advertising rates as a consequence of the attention surrounding her death.

    It will be interesting to see the outcome in view of the “weasel worded” denials from Channel 9 and representatives of the so-called “Bali boy’s” family as to what deal has actually been struck, and the extent to which all players in this sordid affair tell porkies to cover their tracks.

    If I was a member of the Indonesian judiciary involved in this case I would be outraged at the prospect of a defendant subject to criminal proceedings profiting so massively from the situation of the application of Indonesian justice. This includes whole of the voyeuristic Australian media and associated political apparatchiks including both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs prostituting themselves in a populist vote buying exercise. Now that the carpetbaggers have moved in I would be even more revolted.

  • 3
    Liz45
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I heard Ray Martin say on Monday night(Q&A) that there’s no deal!

    I hope that this is so. Talk about using your child for monetary gain if it is true! I’d not watch it either!

    If there’s any truth in it, it could jeopardise this young person’s future? I just hope he’s allowed home to Australia and is treated for any addiction he has. No doubt he’ll require counselling also. (If I was his mother, I would too! What a traumatic time - a nightmare?)

  • 4
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing, the fall from sobriety of the Australian media-consuming public. There are two lumbering elephants and an ugly gorilla in the room here and we are so drunk with trough-feeding we won’t even notice, let alone mention them:
    Shapelle, the Bali Nine and the Australian tabloid media.
    Drug busts in Bali are celebrity news. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as it’s an Aussie. They’re all innocent, we want them back so we can exploit them and Indonesia’s interests are irrelevant. It goes straight to the tabloid extreme and no one gives a stuff.
    Australia seems to be completely bamboozled by Indonesia - their Muslim religion (except Bali), their slaughterhouses, their ‘people smugglers’ and yet their strong views and standards about drug offenses on their territory. Our media participates in the scrums around Indonesian court proceedings (because they are ‘larrikins’ of course) and pretends not to understand how hypocritical and scungy it all seems.
    Liz45, if you were his mother, you would probably already have been ‘counseled’ by a whirlwind of legal, financial, diplomatic and media-handling professionals. The shock, grief and scandal of your personal trauma would probably not be helped by most of the ‘advice’. These guys have no standards and mostly, neither does their audience. It’s simply entertainment, on TV. This is how it’s done and we all know it. Why are we shocked?

  • 5
    drmick
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I want to see the Murdoch/9/daily telegraph treatment of this.
    “Government refuses to legalise grass. Kid forced to buy overseas”
    “Hell hole baits and traps unsuspecting innocent addict”
    “I was used as a political pawn”
    “Parents of addict blame government. Again”,

  • 6
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Not only from the ‘Indonesian perspective’ would people be ticked-off, I’ll be riled if this rumoured deal comes to fruition.

    Any interview with a fourteen year old is guaranteed to be seriously monosyllabic. For thrills I’d rather wash the car than hear some youth recount the details of their petty drug deal. Receiving a telephone call from the PM is bound to be ‘awesome’.

  • 7
    Aphra
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    @Whistleblower -

    Yet another wrong-headed attack on the PM, this time for allegedly ‘prostituting’ herself. For the record, she rang Greg Moriarty, the Ambassador, for an update. He said that he was in actually in the prison with X at that moment and asked if she’d care to say a word or two to him. Hardly wrong and inappropriate in my view that she did, but it might have been hard on the kid had she said ‘no’. Now, you’re not going to tell me that there’s anything untoward in a PM’s ringing one of her ambassadors, are you?

    As for the inappropriateness of an Australian youth’s being in an Indonesian prison, let’s turn our attention to the dozens, some say hundreds, of Indonesian children in Australian jails.

  • 8
    Viking
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Some questions. Is cannabis addictive? Is it not well known that cannabis is readily available in Bali despite harsh penaltys if caught? Would you, as a parent, take your (allegedly) addicted son to this resort.? If you did, would you allow him to wander around there with money in his pocket alone and unsupervised? Who may be responsible if the boy is guily as charged?

  • 9
    Liz45
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    @Hugh McColl - If I was his mother and knew of his addiction to marijuana, we’d never end up in Bali? I’d be too scared! But I’m in no way judging these parents. My sister once said a very wise thing while we were raising our own kids -‘never run down other peoples’ kids, you never know what your own might bring to your door’? Indeed! Good advice!

    @WHISTLEBLOWER - APHRA is correct about Julia Gillard. It’s the job of Foreign Affairs to care for people overseas who end up before the Law. The media don’t tell us the whole story - truth tends to take the ‘shine’ off their headlines. I thought you’d be more savvy than this!

    If both these people hadn’t taken an interest or played a supportive role, you’d be accusing them of letting people rot in jail blah blah! Their involvement was correct. In fact, seeing he’s only a child I’d expect nothing less of them. Children are citizens too you know!

    My heart goes out to the whole family. When(I hope?) they arrive home, they should be left alone to seek counselling etc as they require - but LEFT ALONE!

    If I was the Attorney General I’d tell them and the relevant TV network(if it’s true re a story) that it’s not appropriate and could be detrimental to the young boy!

    If I was Julia Gillard I’d be making sure that Indonesian boys in our jails are also sent home - not left to languish in adult jails among awful criminals who could abuse them! That’s what I’m critical of our Govt for! Let’s make sure all underage kids are protected - not just Aussie kids!

    @VIKING - Not only is cannabis addictive, but recent research now shows, that relying on this drug over a period of years could bring on a more serious mental illness/disease in later life - as a young adult perhaps! I suggest you do some research - it’s far from a harmless drug - even taking out the risk of lung disease as with ordinary cigarettes!

    Even if he is guilty - it’s only a small amount, and he is only a BOY. In Australia he’d be cautioned, and the police hopefully would have a discussion with his parents???As a parent, I was responsible for my boys when they were under 17, or is it 18 now?

  • 10
    drsmithy
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Some questions. Is cannabis addictive?

    Not in the physiological sense.

  • 11
    Whistleblower
    Posted Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    @Aphra
    If you reread my post carefully, without immediately rushing to the defence of your “Beloved Leader” you will see that I was commenting on the whole of the Australian media, and political apparatchiks including both Rudd and Gillard in relation to this beat up event. As an obvious one eyed apologist for Juliar you do not make a very good advocate.

    By what stretch of the imagination would you assume it was a coincidence that Juliar had just rung Greg Moriarty, and he just happened to be in prison with the “Bali Boy” at that time?

    Juliar’s minders would have known the ropes, and she would have been manoeuvring to counter the effect of our Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd having intervened in the situation earlier in the day.

    No I am not going to tell you it is untoward for a PM to ring an ambassador. What I am going to tell you is that applying Occam’s razor to the proposition, the simplest solution is that it was a contrived hook up.

  • 12
    westral
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    The story has come a long way from the innocent kid who was set up by the Bali police to buy grass he didn’t really want. Now he is supposedly addicted to the stuff.

  • 13
    AR
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    A lot of people have made a lot of money for a lot of years out of Schappell Corby, a win-win for all concerned.
    Except one person.
    But that wouldn’t/couldn’t happen again.

  • 14
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    We need the media inquiry to come up with a decision to stop these idiots causing other nations to hate us enough to carry out terrorist attacks against us.
    Limited news bribe AFP to get a story in Melbourne regarding terrorists; they set up Shapelle Corby and the Bali Nine with lots of money and the head of the AFP`s help again, and now this. When will it stop? Not while they are regulating themselves one would think.

  • 15
    Captain Planet
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    As for the inappropriateness of an Australian youth’s being in an Indonesian prison, let’s turn our attention to the dozens, some say hundreds, of Indonesian children in Australian jails.

    Yes, indeed.

  • 16
    Liz45
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    @CAPTAIN PLANET - I agree with you! I’m ashamed of this reality!

  • 17
    Mord
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    All this over 3 grams of a substance that’s as addictive as coffee and about as harmful as beer (likely less). That’s the real tragedy here.

  • 18
    Liz45
    Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    @MORD - That’s not so! Smoking marijuana causes all the same lung diseases as ordinary cigarettes. Recent research clearly shows, that due to the increased ‘strength’ of marijuana, it’s health risks are more serious than once thought. The most disturbing is, that people with a pre-disposition to a mental illness is more likely to be affected than a non user. I’ve known of someone who was so affected - and I believe it was very scary for a while!

    I don’t believe that this boy should’ve been treated as he has, but then we have to acknowledge the Laws of other countries and be wary? I wouldn’t have gone to Bali if I knew he was addicted or even smoking occasionally, but we can all be wise after the event. I’m certainly not judging his parents - or him! I understand the difficulties and challenges of being a parent!

    I just hope they all come home soon - and he learns from this - WITHOUT media interference! They should all be left alone, or in capable caring hands, not providing media ‘sound bites’ or worse etc?

  • 19
    Archer
    Posted Friday, 11 November 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    @Mord

    All this over 3 grams of a substance that’s as addictive as coffee and about as harmful as beer (likely less). That’s the real tragedy here.”

    With all the warning signs and notices, the only tragedy here is that people travel to Bali or Thailand and still play chicken with the their, and I emphasize their, drug laws.

    On top of that they expect the Australian government to bail them out once they get caught.

  • 20
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 11 November 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    @ARCHER - “On top of that they expect the Australian government to bail them out once they get caught.”

    That’s the proper role for a Govt that professes to care about its citizens. We claim to be a caring nation that upholds the belief, ‘innocent until proven guilty’? I don’t mind my money being spent to uphold this. You never know what may come to your door - don’t be so quick to condemn others?

    The people I condemn are those who peddle drugs to anyone, particularly young people. Funny how they always seem to be ‘too hard to find’?

  • 21
    Archer
    Posted Friday, 11 November 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    @Liz45

    We claim to be a caring nation that upholds the belief, ‘innocent until proven guilty’? I don’t mind my money being spent to uphold this.”

    To date, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that he has been “railroaded” or mistreated.
    Our government should keep an eye on proceedings from arms length, but they have no right imposing themselves on Indonesia’s legal system. Considering the moral circus is going to begin here in Australia, interviews, magazines and news programs, all with cheque books open.

  • 22
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 11 November 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    @ARCHER - I was responding to your comment, “On top of that they expect the Australian government to bail them out once they get caught.” That means, that our Govt assumes that people are innocent and assists them accordingly! Keep up! Pay attention!

    He’s a child mate, a child! Our Govt (via Kevin Rudd in particular), went to great lengths to reinforce the view of not interfering in other countries legal system/s.

    Just because the media circus has no morals or sensitivity is not sufficient reason to deny this boy and his family every assistance!

    Kevin Rudd(via 6pm ABC radio news) has just thanked Indonesia - again!

    You show me where anyone in the Govt has done anything to the contrary?

    In short, put up or ???

  • 23
    tenebrae
    Posted Sunday, 13 November 2011 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Where did “the Bali boy” get his balaclava from?

    From the prison? Or did he pack he it in his holiday luggage?

  • 24
    dogspear
    Posted Sunday, 13 November 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Why wouldn’t there be a deal? It sucks that people crave this sort of bullshit drama on TV, but Bali Boy is hardly less deserving of money or fame than an X-Factor contestant, a senile disgruntled tourist, a victim of not washing their hands or whoever usually features on these shows.
    I’d love a few hundred thousand for my tales of teenage misadventure. Good for him.
    If he was actually part of an elaborate ploy to sell skin cream or lobby against boats, then the whole sideshow might be interesting.
    Can we have some actual stories now, please Crikey?

  • 25
    Broggly
    Posted Monday, 14 November 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    LIZ45: I was under the impression that cannibis wasn’t directly chemically addictive in that you don’t get withdrawl symptoms as with alcohol, tobacco, heroin and cocaine. It can be psychologically addictive of course, especially given its effects on anxiety.

  • 26
    Liz45
    Posted Monday, 14 November 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    @BROGGLY - Apparently the stuff that’s been grown lately - under lights etc, is a lot stronger than say in the 60’s, 70’s etc. There’s many stories of people becoming addicted to that stuff, not only that, it’s the stuff that is causing adverse physical and mental negative reactions. (Tony Delroy, ABC radio, Nightlife had guests on speaking about it - you can probably go on site and search).

    It can lead to worse reactions/illnesses than anxiety - schizophrenia for example is just one!

    One of the positives are marijuana cookies? Now whether they have the negative aspects, I don’t know, but I do know that they’re very successful in dealing with awful nausea etc for people who have cancer. Now the fact of cooking the stuff may negate the awful side affects, but I don’t know. I do know that people with end stage cancer, who’ve been so nauseous that they couldn’t keep any food down have had their quality of life improved drastically - but of course they did end up dying from their cancer/s. If it helps these people, it’s a good thing, but not to be taken by young people who may still be addicted 30 years later? I understand that this CAN happen!

    It’s so much stronger than it used to be, and apparently, that is the concern! I’d be very concerned about a 14 yr old having addiction problems!

  • 27
    dogspear
    Posted Tuesday, 15 November 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    So much stronger” is a tiresome meme. What about hash? There was plenty of hash in the sixties..
    There may be a greater prevalence in the distribution of “stronger” pot, but if it were that simple, people could just smoke less with less health concerns due to the pyrolization of non-desirables. The big difference is the _change_ in chemical profile largely as a byproduct of clandestine growing and commercial considerations. There is also a big change in the motives of the average smoker.
    More and more people just want to “get f!#$%ed up” and get back to their job that they hate the next day- there is little alternative for lots of people these days.. It’s a different world, now.

  • 28
    drsmithy
    Posted Tuesday, 15 November 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Cannabis is not physiologically addictive. Ie: it’s the same sort of “addictive” as gambling or the internet. Strength has no bearing on whether or not it’s addictive or not. *Caffeine* is more addictive than cannabis, and only marginally less worse for you.

    Cannabis is known to increase the risk of some psychologically disorders to which the person in question may already be inclined. Ie: it magnifies an existing condition or predisposition, it doesn’t create it out of nothing.

    Smoking cannabis is generally not as harmful as cigarettes, because it usually lacks many of the carcinogens in cigarettes, has less tar, and since it doesn’t have the same physiological addictive affect (ie: the craving) users tend to smoke it less. Further, it actually expands the airways in the lungs, and is used by some asthmatics because of this.

    By any objective analysis, there is no rational reason whatsoever cannabis should be illegal while alcohol and nicotine - both *vastly* more harmful (in both a medical and social sense) drugs - are legal.

  • 29
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 15 November 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    It should be remembered that nobody smoked cannabis in any form until the arrival of that Weed with its Roots in Hell tobacco from the new world.
    Until then bhang was a sugar & pepper milk and hash (Arab) or charas (India) was eaten as a sticky candy.
    The only reason it is smoked by most people is the cost factor, yet another baleful effect of prohibition.
    Dogspear makes a good point re the motives of today’s chuffer - certainly not the same as the freeks & hippies of yesteryear when it was about joy & uplift.
    One of the major differences between then & now is that in the 60s, after toking, it’d be “now what shall we do?” whereas now it seems to be “duhhh”.

  • 30
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 15 November 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Sorry - can someone remove the bold after ”smoked”?

  • 31
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 15 November 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think cannabis should be criminalised, but it does cause many people very serious/severe problems.

    @DR SMITHY - I’ve listened/read accounts from several people, including those who have a dependence/addiction of whatever variety say, that the cannabis today isn’t like it was in the 60’s? I have to admit that I don’t have a clue personally - I recall having two drags once and the effect was something I didn’t enjoy at all - that’s my only experience!

    There was a report on 60 Minutes the other night about ‘prescription’ alternatives to many drugs including cannabis. Apparently, chemists substitute different components when they’re ‘concerned’ about any of the ‘ingredients’? Very scary!

    I think at the moment, there’s more concern about the effects of alcohol and “ice” than cannabis? Ask those who work in A&E at our major hospitals. The people at St Vincent’s Hospital are fed up with treating drunks every weekend, while their friends are abusive and rowdy in the waiting rooms!

    I’m just glad I’m not the parents of that young boy - 2 more weeks of hell!

  • 32
    dogspear
    Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Dang, this thread is probably lost forever, but as Dr Smithy says, smoking the green stuff (whole leaves or flowers) was almost non-existent in places like India and the Middle East and was certainly frowned upon. Smoking hash (ie just the resin) was somewhat widely encouraged. This refers to the plant Cannabis _indica_.

    From what I can gather though, Cannabis _sativa_ (big sparse plants requiring a long growing season) from the tropics of Africa (and later places like South America and Jamaica) has a long history of being smoked wholus bolus (flowers just dried and smoked).

    Not sure about the exact pharmacological or cultural reasons behind this, but one species was consumed and further bred to be consumed a particular way and the other species another. Maybe it is a fungal or bacterial consideration (Indicas are prone to mould as they come from dry/ cold climates) or maybe something entirely different, but it bears consideration.

    Today’s commercial hydroponic or other artificial light using clandestine grows use predominantly Indica hybrids because of the compact nature and shorter growing cycle. Sativa crossing adds a different high and possibly some fungal resistance. Most of today’s commercial plants have a completely different cannabinoid profile to anything known in human history, completely different pathological issues (and cures) and a whole new breed of grower that generally just wants money.

    Let everyone grow, breed and study plants in their backyard as nature does and bingo, the problems will quickly evaporate.

  • 33
    Whistleblower
    Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the potheads who have taken over this particular subject could set up their own blog and let the “Bali boy” issue deservedly die away.

  • 34
    dogspear
    Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    what are you on about? You’re bringing up the trivial article you don’t want to talk about but comments about a different (but relevant) subject are unwelcome? It’s not even trollday, you alcoholic bogan.

  • 35
    Whistleblower
    Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    @dogspear
    Do you also indulge in self abuse as well?

  • 36
    dogspear
    Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    errwoops, AR was the one that mentioned the history of administration.
    Sorry about that, AR.

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