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‘I did not assault him’: Costello denies attacking News Corp reporter

Things have spiralled further for Nine Entertainment, as the company’s chairman Peter Costello was caught on camera allegedly assaulting a reporter from The Australian, an act he later denied.

Costello was walking through Canberra Airport on Thursday night, when he was peppered with questions from The Australian’s journalist Liam Mendes regarding the current sexual harassment scandal at Nine.

Video footage shows contact between Costello and Mendes, then the journalist hitting the ground.

“You’ve just assaulted me,” Mendes said, as Costello is heard to laugh off camera and said “you walked into a post.”

“That was quite violent behaviour Mr. Costello,” Mendes said, after further questions regarding share prices and public support of current CEO Mike Sneesby.

Costello denied the assault to journalists.

“When I came through Canberra Airport there was a reporter walking backwards with his phone filming,” Costello said.

“As I walked past him he walked back into an advertising placard. I did not strike him. If he’s upset about that I’m sorry.”

Costello called claims the footage could threaten his job as chairman “rubbish”, reiterating, “there’s no assault, he was backing backwards, he hit an advertising placard, I did not lay a finger or a fist or anything else on him.”

Footage captured by Mendes shows two witnesses to the clash backing up his version of events.

“He gave you a good shoving,” one said.

Bill Shorten was quick to get a jab in on this morning’s Today, asking Sarah Abo at the start of an interview: “Is there a job going at Channel Nine, as the chairman?”

Abo neither confirmed nor denied, simply remarking “Wow. He’s gone in early. Bill!”

“Too soon?” Shorten asked.

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