Judge Rules That Ex-Network 10 Star Commentator Peter van Onselen WAS In Breach Of Contract

Judge Rules That Ex-Network 10 Star Commentator Peter van Onselen WAS In Breach Of Contract

A judge has opted in favour of Network 10, declaring that Peter van Onselen WAS in breach of a non-disparagement clause when he penned a scathing opinion piece about the broadcaster in The Australian. 

Network 10 took its former political editor to court over allegations he had breached his contract after he claimed, in an opinion piece, that the broadcast was on the verge of a “disaster” and may not survive.

The journalist signed a non-disparagement clause with the network when he left in March this year. A non-disparagement clause means “you won’t say anything negative about the company or its products, services, or leaders—in any form of communication”.

Just months later, however, her wrote the opinion piece in which he said the broadcaster as “the minnow of Australian commercial television” and opined it was “out gunned and our rated” by its competitors.

Today, Justice David Hammerschlag confirmed the article did breach the clause.

Van Onselen said he hadn’t read the clause which meant he has a lifetime ban against bad-mouthing the network.

In his testimony, van Onselen said he asked Paramount’s vice-president of human resources Anthony McDonald whether the clause was legitimate.

“I assume the deed doesn’t shut down my right to talk about the network forever,” he said in the phone conversation.

“If the CEO f**ked a goat and everyone was piling on, I would be able to?”

McDonald allegedly reassured the commentator: “Yes, of course mate.”

Van Onselen appeared in the Supreme Court via video link from Italy on Friday.

The judge did, however, decline to make a permanent injunction that would restrain van Onselen from adversely commenting on the broadcaster.

A spokesperson told B&T Network 10 is satisfied with the outcome of the process. No further comments will be made.

 




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