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Dog act: Chris Kenny after more than $90,000 from the ABC

Chris Kenny has previously implied all he wanted was an apology from the ABC for that photoshop. But now he wants almost $100,000 from the public broadcaster.

Australian columnist and Sky News presenter Chris Kenny wants a “close-to-six-figure” sum — or one slightly under $100,000 — in damages from the ABC, numerous sources close to the case have told Crikey.

The damages relate to a defamation action launched by the journalist in November after a sketch aired by the public broadcaster in September last year, in which Kenny was photoshopped mounting a dog on political sketch show The Hamster Decides. Crikey contacted Kenny before 10am this morning about the amount he requires for settlement, but did not hear back before deadline.

A settlement that large would contradict Kenny’s previous statements that indicated he was only after an apology from the ABC. In March, Crikey asked Kenny whether he was after monetary compensation for the potentially defamatory skit, to which he responded: “The ABC has refused to apologise, so I have launched defamation proceedings against the ABC to obtain an apology, costs and damages.”

Last month, ABC managing director Mark Scott issued a public apology to Kenny. “I have come to the view with the director of television that the ABC should not have put the skit to air. Having reviewed the issue, in my opinion it falls short of the quality demanded by our audience and normally delivered by our programming,” he said. He also offered a personal apology in a phone call to Kenny.

In response to this, Kenny told Crikey he had instructed his lawyers to “settle [the defamation matter] as quickly as possible”, though he noted his displeasure that Hamster Decides host Julian Morrow had publicly repudiated the apology on Twitter.

Yesterday, the ABC released to journalists a letter its lawyers sent Kenny’s lawyers seeking to settle the case. That letter offered to pay Kenny’s legal costs should he agree to drop an appeal against one of the defamatory imputations, which had been struck out by a judge. If he didn’t agree to drop the appeal within seven days, the letter implied, the ABC could pursue Kenny for costs should his appeal fail. That letter also offered to have Scott read out a shortened version of his apology in court.

Kenny responded to this in The Australian, saying he would not be “bullied” into dropping the case:

After forcing me to incur considerable costs over more than seven months, Mark Scott … eventually issued an apology that was immediately repudiated by the producers of the program. No apology has yet been broadcast on the ABC and none received from the producers of the program. And, despite Mr Scott saying he was sorry for the distress caused to me and my family by the program and the delay in the apology, the best the ABC can do is try to bully me by circulating a letter to journalists before I was even aware of it. My lawyers are proceeding with the case.”

Meanwhile, the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s ruling on whether the skit breached the ABC’s policies is, to quote a spokesperson this morning, “still before the authority”. No further detail on that was available, though Crikey understands a decision is still some time away.

10
  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Go for it Kenny - keep up the double standards.

  • 2
    paddy
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I do *so* want to watch that dog turn around and bite Kenny.

  • 3
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    On what rational grounds does Chris Kenny think he is worth $90K? It can’t be reputation, other than as a rabid cheer leader for the right.It can’t be personal worth as most people think he’s an arse-hat. It can’t be for empathy, compassion or any other expression of concern for his fellow human beings, because none is evident in his writings and it can’t be for honesty or integrity because like virtually everyone else associated with News Corp. they aren’t part of his personality. So why does he think he’s worth so much?

  • 4
    DiddyWrote
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for Kenny to give a categorical denial that he has never had intercourse with a canine.

  • 5
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    There’s a scurrilous rumour he needs a cash injection in order to buy friends.

  • 6
    AR
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    wot DiddyWrote - I’ll not be assuaged until i see a stat. dec. along the lines of “I have not had sex wit.. that quadruped..”.

  • 7
    Harry Held
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    If you want to win a payout as a result of damage to your good reputation, you have to have a good reputation in the first place.

  • 8
    seriously?
    Posted Friday, 23 May 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    He must have slipped rohypnol in the dog’s water bowl.

  • 9
    pinkocommierat
    Posted Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Shame, Diddy: as if any self-respecting canine would do the filth with Chris Kenny.

  • 10
    Chalkie Kev
    Posted Sunday, 25 May 2014 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Was Julian Morrow removed from the last 2 episodes of The Checkout as punishment for that tweet? He was in the other episodes a lot and then mysteriously vanished, around the same time as the tweet. Coincidence?

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