Seven’s Sunday Night current affairs program is to be sued for making “malicious falsehoods” after a story it ran on the charity fundraising firm Appco Group suggested it kept the bulk of the money it collected for local charitable organisations.
Appco has filed documents in the Federal Court against the broadcaster, Fairfax Media has revealed.
During the episode, which was broadcast on June 18, the Seven investigation into the fundraising firm suggested that as much as 93 per cent of the money Appco collected from Australians was kept by Appco itself.
You can read more about the original Sunday Night story here at the Yahoo7 website.
In a statement to B&T, a Seven spokesperson said: “Whilst it appreciates the matter is before the Court, Seven is confident of the accuracy of the matters reported in its program. The proceedings instituted by Appco also question the right of former Appco workers to speak out.”
The story inferred that Appco had collected $100 million from Australians over the past two years who legitimately believed their donations were helping do good and not pay Appco executives’ lavish salaries.
The Sunday Night program relied heavily on the testimonies of former Appco contractors who had made the extraordinary claims.
Some of the charities named in the segment included Camp Quality, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation and the RSL.
However, in documents filed to the Federal Court, Appco agreed it did take some of the donated monies, but it was between nine and 30 per cent of the donation, not the 93 per cent suggested by Sunday Night.
The program also suggested Appco was merely a pyramid scheme that shunted donated monies up to senior Appco employees and paid the tin rattlers (or “chuggers”) standing on the street collecting the actual donations very little at all.