Sunrise accused of wasting time of bushfire volunteers after no-show at animal shelter

SUNRISE logoChannel Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise has been accused of “letting down” South Australian fire victims by failing to turn up to a pre-arranged live cross at an animal rescue sanctuary to cover the bushfire ravaging the Adelaide Hills.

A message posted to Facebook by Mark Aldridge, a prominent animal rights campaigner and independent candidate in the 2013 federal election, which slated the behaviour, has been shared 11,014 times and liked by more than 10,500 people.

In the post Aldridge said: “Sunrise contacted me asking if they could set up on our property, they came out yesterday to sort out where to set up the satellite, they asked that we stack the donations on the lawn, to have all the rescuers there with the animals, and those that lost their homes in the fires for the cross overs, that we have the trucks arriving and departing, from 5.30 in the morning.”

Alridge continued by saying many people “missed out on well earned sleep” but were happy to do so in the aim of getting the word out on Sunrise about the work of the rescue groups.

The show had already faced criticism from people in South Australia dealing with some of the worst bushfires in recent memory, after failing to report on the incident for two days and describing it as “a small grass fire”.

Mark Aldridge Facebook post 1

Whilst Aldridge claims he had not received a call from Seven over the cancellation Mumbrella understands the weather producer and presenter both attempted to call Aldridge several times throughout the afternoon before the scheduled morning live cross to clarify the weather situation at the animal sanctuary which Aldridge failed to respond to.

Seven then decided to cancel the cross with the weather producer calling and texting Aldridge in the evening to let him know the cross was not going ahead.

A supervising producer is understood to have then contacted Aldridge yesterday morning after the first Facebook post had gained traction to discuss what had happened. However, Seven has declined to make an on the record comment on the issue.

In a subsequent post Aldridge said: “Channel 7 are not happy with my post, facts are simple I made the arrangements for their request to run the show from my Sanctuary, I did every thing they asked an many people went out of their way to support the broadcast.

“7 have said they could not contact me in the late arvo, which was because I was in the firezone and had no coverage. I spoke to them one in the that time and said everything would go as planned.”

Aldridge said he was home from 9pm and in mobile phone range from 7.30pm but received no phone calls or text messages.

“I have never let 7 down and they have never let me down in the past, so I had no reason to believe they were not coming, if they did send the message I apologises, but I would have thought a call or confirmation would have been more appropriate,” he concluded.

Mark Aldridge Facebook post
 Aldridge’s posts have sparked a number of other people to comment on Sunrise’s Facebook page angered by the no-show, with some posts congratulating Channel Ten’s Studio 10 which this morning did a cross from Aldridge’s Willow wood Sanctuary.

Sunrise Facebook bushfire postsSunrise Facebook bushfire postsSunrise Facebook bushfire postsSunrise Facebook bushfire posts

Seven declined to comment.

Aldridge was unable to be reached at time of publication.

UPDATE 3pm: Sunrise has since posted a clarification on its Facebook page stating Sunrise producers have a text message from Aldridge confirming he’d received the messages that Sunrise would not be attending the sanctuary.

The statement reads: “A senior member of the Sunrise staff contacted Mark on Tuesday. Mark advised that he would amend his Facebook post to say that it had been a misunderstanding and that Sunrise was not at fault.”

Aldridge is yet to amend his Facebook post.

Sunrise Facebook post

Miranda Ward


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