In The Australian today there is an article quoting from Michael Bodey’s new book Broadcast Wars. An allegation is made that Eddie McGuire did not use the word “bone” in his conversation with me regarding Jessica Rowe.

Nick Leys reports:

The book also claims Llewellyn himself has “privately conceded the term may have been ‘phoned, toned or coned’ although his recollection is McGuire said ‘boned’.”

McGuire yesterday told The Australian he had wanted to defend himself against the allegation, which he maintains is not true. “I had to wear it, but I didn’t say it,” he said. “I don’t talk about people in that way. It’s not a term I used then and it’s not a term I would use now.”

Not only do I remember Eddie McGuire saying what he said, I remember how he looked as he said it. Including his smirk as he used the “bone” word.

Contrary to Michael Bodey’s erroneous claim, I have conceded nothing privately or publicly about possibly mishearing McGuire. I have perhaps twice in conversation with journalists, including the tone-deaf Bodey, used a sarcastic joke to illustrate the absurdity of Eddie’s suggestion that I misheard him — as in perhaps Eddie said “tone Jessica” or “cone Jessica” or “when are we going to phone Jessica”.

Of course he didn’t. He said “bone”. And he used this crude term in the context of wanting to axe her from the Today Show.

Eddie in that meeting was never trying to “find support for Jessica”. It was not the first time he had been derogatory towards her. He wanted to remove her from the Today Show. A year later, under his watch, she would leave the program.

Earlier this year I met Michael Bodey and said to him that I would go on-the-record if he intended to quote Eddie McGuire talking about me and these events. Bodey said he would call me if that happened. He didn’t. Nor, as might reasonably be expected of a journalist, did he call to get my response to his absurd claim that I have privately conceded I misheard Eddie’s words. Nor did he call me about the claim that someone else said it.

The other person in the room that day was Jeff Browne. He didn’t say it. Eddie McGuire did.

Eddie said it. I signed an affidavit that he said it (leaked to Crikey at the time), I was prepared to stand up in court and say that he said it, and that is because he said it. Eddie had his chance to deny saying it in court and he squibbed it. That was the time for Eddie McGuire to have his say, when proceedings were on foot and the claims could be tested.

*Mark Llewellyn is now an executive producer on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night

Michael Bodey responds …

Mark is a vivacious raconteur and has done much to build the burgeoning affidavit industry among Australian media practitioners. I understand that his strident response has been issued before reading the book. He’ll be less strident after reading Broadcast Wars. I stand by my research although I’m a little miffed the “boning” incident has drawn focus from more interesting episodes in Australian TV history analysed in the book. It covers barely four pages out of 300.

And Mark Llewellyn retorts …

With only a little bit more effort Michael could turn his opening par into a fair dinkum bon mot one day. The only thing missing from his “I stand by my research” line was the word “slap-dash”. Insert at will.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey