Presenter who was told to fake her death accuses network of encouraging sick humour in staff
Amber Petty was a breakfast presenter on SAFM in Adelaide for three years.
She contacted Mumbrella to comment after seeing this week’s story about the sacking of Kyle & Jackie O Show producer Bruno Bouchet over jokes he made about the Colorado shootings.
When Petty first joined that station in 2007, her death was faked in an on-air prank. Petty claims that as a new starter, she was pressured into doing the stunt. She told Mumbrella:
“Having worked for SCA, I will say that behind the scenes much of the time it is 100% encouraged to be outrageous and have a sick sense of humour. Revolting things are encouraged, and they employ sycophantic people who make dumb mistakes.”
Rhys Holleran, Southern Cross Austereo CEO, responded to Petty’s comments saying, “At Southern Cross Austereo, we’re proud of our focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent, who thrive within our culture where respect, honesty and integrity are valued.”
Petty said: “While I was on air, the powers that be decided it would be a good idea to get attention by pretending I had died. So being new on air and feeling the pushiness of ‘don’t carry on about this or you’re not a team player’ I had to leave the studio while an obituary for me was recorded.
“The obituary included our news reader reading out my death news and a sound grab from my brother and father saying how horrendous it was that I’d died, including asking my dad to say ‘It’s obviously always sad when a parent loses a child’.”
Petty claimed that before agreeing to play along with the stunt, her father “was bailed up on the run while he was at work, didn’t feel right about it and only succumbed after my pushy co-host convinced him to do it. He felt sick after doing it – and that went to air.”
Petty worked with co-host Dave ‘Rabbit’ Rabbetts at SAFM until 2010, when she left to start her own website Not Just For Hippies.
She added: “So that explains the culture that goes on inside SCA, and the behaviour that is encouraged – not discouraged. The culture is to employ a lot of people who only have an opinion that fits right with what the bosses tell you is best for your career.”
Petty said the nature of her departure from SCA was “a mutual parting of ways”.
“It was time for me to go. There is no bitterness there,” she claimed.
Bouchet publicly apologised in an opinion piece on Mumbrella yesterday over the comments that led to his exit. Petty said of this move: “I rate this apology and although I don’t know what was said in the no doubt dumb and attention seeking tweets, I think Bruno has gone over and above in his explanation of what is a deeper reason for trying to be cool and controversial at all costs.”
The former SAFM presenter is best known as being bridesmaid to Princess Mary.