Gina Rinehart and Nine set to do battle again over advertising of the House of Hancock DVD

Rinehart-234x29711The legal battle between Gina Rinehart and the Nine Network is set to return to court today amid concerns by the mining magnate about what will be included on the DVD release of mini-series House of Hancock.

Rinehart has filed an amended statement of claim seeking an injunction against Nine and production house Cordell Jigsaw Productions over the miniseries which focuses on the relationship between Rinehart, her father Lang Hancock and his second wife Rose Porteous.

In the documents, Rinehart’s lawyers seek an injunction on the defendants’ advertising the DVDs, claiming numerous “falsehoods” and breaches of both competition and consumer law as well as a non-existent Australian tort of privacy.

Among the numerous falsehoods alleged by the Rinehart camp, in the amended statement, are that: “Lang Hancock was a person with a propensity to cheat at tennis”, her mother “Hope Hancock as a person of blonde hair”, and that her father “used profanities in the presence of his daughter.”

Rinehart has also resurrected previous complaints about other scenes miniseries, which first aired on Nine last year, claiming that Lang Hancock never “communicated to the plaintiff that she was a ‘slothful, vindictive, devious baby elephant” and that the show “falsely portray(ed) Lang Hancock as having liked the residence known as Prix D’Amore.”


Sam Neill and Peta Sergeant playing Lang Hancock and Gina Rinehart in House of Hancock.

Australia’s richest women last year took Nine to court over the miniseries demanding to see the second episode of the miniseries and then eventually coming to confidential settlement where Nine agreed to last minute edits to the broadcast and also broadcast a line at the start of the show about it being a “fictionalised” drama.

Despite the settlement the billionaire then launched new seeking to stop the TV network from selling uncensored versions of its miniseries House of Hancock on DVD in the future.

The DVD went on-sale in December; however, Rinehart’s lawyers claim the defendants are in engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and are breaching Australian Consumer Law.

Rinehart’s statement of claim also claims Nine and Cordell Jigsaw are guilty of both injurious falsehood and breached a “tort of privacy”, with her lawyers telling the court: “the plaintiff had and has the right to not have those of her private affairs, with which the public has not legitimate concern, publicised to other nor her likeness exhibited to the public… to live her life without being subject to unwarranted and undesired publicity, including publicity unreasonably placing her in a false light before the public.”

Australian law does not at present have a tort of privacy meaning the case could become a test case to establish the right.

Cordell Jigsaw has filed a defence which rejects most of the complaints made by Rinehart. It notes that Rinehart makes a complaint that she was not interviewed for the series, which it concedes is true “but says that the plantiff was afforded the opportunity to be interviewed about the drama which opportunity the plaintiff chose not to accept”.

The claim of injurious falsehoose is similar to defamation but requires malice and actual tangible damage to a business or reputation.

Rinehart is understood to have served an affidavit to support this argument in court and is likely should the case proceed to give evidence.

The Nine Network is expected to ask for more time to prepare its defence and may seek to get the case struck out.

Nic Christensen


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