Australia’s top-rating television network said on Wednesday it was investigating a leaked video of two news anchors privately attacking tennis star Novak Djokovic and accusing him of lying about his COVID-19 status and visa application. Seven West Media Ltd news reader Rebecca Maddern could be heard discussing the issues in an off-air conversation with co-anchor, Mike Amor, according to footage circulated on social media. Maddern could be heard describing the Grand Slam champion as sneaky and lying on the expletive-filled video which was apparently recorded without Maddern’s knowledge, known as a “hot mic”. Amor, adjusting a lapel microphone, also accused Djokovic of making excuses and lying. “But I think he is going to get away with it,” he said.
“Mike Amor and Bec Maddern forgetting the camera/mic is always on.”
“Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a**hole,” Maddern said to her co-host. “Whatever way you look at it, it’s unfortunate that everybody else stuffed up around him.”
“That’s it,” Amor agreed. “You’ve got a bullsh** f**king excuse and then he fell over his own f**king lies. That’s just what happens right?”
According to Sky News, Craig McPherson, Seven’s Director of News and Public Affairs said an investigation is underway to find out who leaked the illegal recording in a statement issued on Wednesday. “The illegal recording was of a private conversation between two colleagues. It was an underhanded, cowardly act in breach of the Victorian Listening Devices legislation the perpetrator of which will be accordingly dealt with when found,” he added, reported Sky News. Seven Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin told 3AW the network will leave no stone unturned to find out how the recording leaked. “Well, it’s disappointing. It’s a private conversation. It’s been illegally recorded and it’s been illegally distributed,” he said.
Many netizens have defended the duo. Here are a few reactions:
“Well it shouldn’t have happened and no doubt there will be a witchhunt. But what’s the sin? Two experienced journalists having a private conversation about a heated and complex issue – and using language many people in the ‘real world’ use. Shocking!”
Well it shouldn’t have happened and no doubt there will be a witchhunt. But what’s the sin? Two experienced journalists having a private conversation about a heated and complex issue – and using language many people in the ‘real world’ use. Shocking! https://t.co/9wjZ4lmZ80— Peter Ford (@mrpford) January 11, 2022
“Beautifully said. Nailed it. They expressed 100% exactly what everyone I know feels about this.”
Beautifully said. Nailed it. They expressed 100% exactly what everyone I know feels about this. 👏👏✊— Beggarman (@thebeggarman) January 11, 2022
The news presenters’ rant comes at a time when the world number one, chasing his 21st Grand Slam title at next week’s Australian Open, had his visit to the country sensationally disrupted by a four-night stint in immigration detention after border control guards deemed his medical exemption for being unvaccinated against COVID-19 as invalid.
On Wednesday, Djokovic addressed what he described as “continuing misinformation about my activities” in a long Instagram post. He said his agent made a “human error” when filling out his travel declaration stating he had not visited any other countries and denied knowingly going out in public after learning of his positive test, other than one photo shoot where he mostly wore a mask. “I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations,” Djokovic said.
(With inputs from Reuters)