OK, there’s only one way to ask this question: Will Glenn Milne get boned for his Walkleys biffo?

Absolutely not, Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen tells Crikey. “Glenn’s employment is not under threat”.

But he “will not be patted on the back for what he did last night”. Instead, he will be “disciplined internally” – which is a matter between myself and him, says Breen.

Although Breen wasn’t at the Walkleys, “I intimately know what happened last night”.  In fact the Sunday Tele editor has been “up most of the night dealing with it” and has “spoken to Glenn this morning at length”.

While Breen is Milne’s direct boss, he actually answers to several Sunday News Ltd editors around the country. “We’re very disappointed in Glenn”, says Breen. His behaviour was “unacceptable” and he’s “issued an apology to all of us this morning”.

When Crikey spoke to Breen this morning, he told us that Milne was in the middle of preparing a fuller apology, which came through an hour or so later:

Please accept this release as an apology to my esteemed colleagues, friends and family for the hurt and embarrassment caused by my actions at the Walkley Awards in Melbourne. I was very proud to represent News Limited as a finalist and was honoured to have been invited to take part in this prestigious event. However, I lamentably mixed alcohol and migraine medication with shocking consequences. I apologise too to Stephen Mayne and the organisers of the awards. There is no excuse for my behaviour.

Current contrition aside, Breen jokingly predicts a happy ending to the Milne-Mayne saga – they’ll “probably present an award next year together”.

In an official statement Greg Baxter, Director of Corporate Affairs for News Limited wrote: “I think everyone agrees it’s inappropriate behaviour. I don’t think anyone in that room last night would’ve thought it was appropriate behaviour.”

But someone at News Ltd clearly hadn’t got the memo about the party line. This little snippet appeared in today’s Daily Tele Sydney Confidential (not online):

Sunday Telegraph political editor Glenn Milne made a point at last night’s Walkley Awards that most people who believe in media integrity will cherish. Milne confronted Crikey founder Stephen Mayne, a presenter at the awards, while he was on stage and called him a disgrace – and then pushed him. Milne argued that Mayne was an inappropriate presenter because, through his website ramblings, he has been a critic of the hard work of journalists while engaging himself in what many would say is journalistically unethical vaudeville.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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