ABC Managing Director Mark Scott has acted boldly to bring the internal dimension of The Chaser affair to a head, removing Amanda Duthie as Head of ABC TV Comedy.

A release from the ABC said:

The decision, made with the ABC’s Director of Television, Kim Dalton, followed a review of the processes which led to the screening of the Chaser “Make A Realistic Wish” segment last week.

“The segment should not have been broadcast. We recognise that it caused unnecessary and unreasonable hurt and offence to our viewers and the broader community and we have apologised for this,” Mr Scott said. “We have determined this was not a breakdown in our Editorial Policy processes but rather an error of judgement.”

Mr Scott said the processes are clear and amply set out in the ABC’s Editorial Policies. “Where staff are concerned about the potential for satirical material to cause harm they should refer the matter to the next level of management. In this instance, the Head of Arts, Entertainment and Comedy reviewed the segment and did not refer it up. This was an error of judgement.”

ABC TV’s Executive Head of Content Creation, Courtney Gibson, will assume direct responsibility for comedy programs until a new Head of Comedy is appointed. Amanda will continue to be responsible for Arts and Entertainment programs.

The Chaser responded later in the evening, saying:

20/20 hindsight is easier than 20/20 foresight.

We’re sorry we put the sketch forward and we think it’s a harsh call on Amanda who had, and has, our full support.

Peter Fray

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