Senior staff at the Nine Network including director of television Michael Healy have contributed to the viral spread of a vicious email about PR agency boss Roxy Jacenko, who is currently starring in the network’s reality show The Celebrity Apprentice.
The anonymous email, which went viral within the PR industry late yesterday afternoon, purports to come from a former member of staff at Jacenko’s PR agency Sweaty Betty.
Headed “What it’s really like to work for Roxy Jacenko”, the lengthy email, from “Ms Karma” draws an unflattering picture of working conditions at the agency and makes claims regarding clients.
During the late afternoon and early evening, several versions of the email were forwarded to members of the Mumbrella team from various sources within and beyond the PR industry.
One of the first chains to reach Mumbrella included several senior staff at Nine forwarding it internally, before director of television Michael Healy forwarded it externally to a person working at another media organisation. Further names on the email trail after that included people in marketing roles at a major bank and a major management consultancy before it eventually reached Mumbrella.
The email was reported on MCM Media’s website The Hot Hits but this morning the story was deleted. It was also covered by today’s Sydney Morning Herald.
There is no suggestion that the Nine staff were doing anything other than acting professionally to keep relevant staff informed when they forwarded the email internally. There is also no suggestion that anyone at Nine had any part in creating the email.
A spokesman for Nine told Mumbrella: “The email went to a personal friend of Michael’s with no commentary who is not an editorial employee of any media company and the internal circulation was for professional purposes.”
One part of the chain began at 3.03pm yesterday with the Today Show’s Eleni Paneras forwarding the email to a mailing group labelled “Today Show Producers” with the message “This is going viral”.
At 4.11pm Nine publicist David Brown emailed Nine’s head of publicity Victoria Buchan and head of reality and factual Karen Dewey with the message “This is going viral as we speak”.
This was in turn followed by Dewey forwarding it four minutes later to director of television Healy with the message “FYI. Roxy won’t be happy.”
Nine minutes later, Healy emailed it out of the building.
For legal reasons, Mumbrella is not disclosing where the email went after that but the trail included a variety of staff at another media company, people working in marketing and comms roles at a large bank brand and somebody at a consultancy.
There is no suggestion that the email would not have anyway gone viral without Healy forwarding it. Another version of the chain forwarded to Mumbrella passed through gossip journalists, media companies, telcos, rival PR agencies, another bank brand, and a beauty brand.
Two other versions forwarded to Mumbrella came via the PR industry.
Jacenko’s successful agency Sweaty Betty has been a polarising force in the PR industry. Mumbrella has no evidence that any of the claims in the email are true so has not published them.
Ratings in the last couple of weeks have fallen away for The Celebrity Apprentice . This week, it averaged less than 700,000 metro viewers.
Jacenko, who appeared in a video interview with Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes in 2012, did not respond to an invitation to comment.
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