ABC comedy boss Amanda Duthie admits she did not refer Chaser sketch up the chain

amanda-duthieAmanda Duthie, the ABC’s Head of Arts, Entertainment & Comedy, was tonight named as the person responsible for the breakdown in procedures that led to The Chaser’s dying kids sketch being aired last week.  

She confirmed to Media Watch – broadcast by the ABC – that she had viewed the material and failed to refer it upwards.

The Chaser’s War On Everything aired on Wednesday night. The Make A Reasonable Wish Foundation sketch caused immediate outrage – in particular, the final “They’re only going to die anyway” line.

By Thursday lunchtime, the ABC’s director of TV Kim Dalton had apologised and the network said it had edited the sketch out of that night’s ABC2 repeat and from the online iView catch-up service.

Mumbrella understands that until mid morning on Friday the team behind The Chaser had stuck with the initial version for iTunes edition of the show which they have direct control over. However, that too was eventually pulled.

And on Friday night, the ABC announced that the show was being taken off air for a fortnight “to complete a review of editorial processes”. The announcement also contained an apology from the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott.

On Monday evening, Media Watch pointed out that ABC guidelines state that controversial material needs to be referred upwards, all the way to the MD if necessary, but Duthie admitted to the programme that she had failed to do so.

Duthie has been in the role for a little less than two years. Prior to that she was a commissioning editor and executive producer for the network, although with little involvement in comedy. She reports in to Courtney Gibson, the network’s executive head of content creation.

Asked by Media Watch about the consequences of her having failed to refer the decision upwards, Duthie said the question should be referred to Gibson.


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