The ABC appears to have had a sudden change of heart regarding the apparent sacking of newsreader Natasha Exelby.
As reported on B&T, Exelby was taken off air by the public broadcaster after she was caught staring at a pen during a live cross over the weekend and the blooper subsequently going viral.
News of Exelby’s apparent sacking caused fury – even Bill Shorten tweeting his support – that someone could be sacked over a simple error. An online petition calling on ABC CEO Michelle Guthrie to reinstate Exelby had gained more than 3,700 signatures this morning.
However, the ABC’s director of news Gaven Morris appears to have bowed to pressure and re-instated Exelby.
In a statement to media – which you can read here – Morris said that reports Exelby had lost her job “are untrue”.
“Live television is a demanding art and slip-ups will happen — our presenters are humans, not robots,” Morris said
“We take on-air standards extremely seriously, but we don’t expect perfection. No one would ever be punished for a blooper and, while it isn’t appropriate to publicly discuss confidential details of people’s personal work arrangements, this has not happened to Natasha.
“Natasha is a freelance journalist who works as a contributor. She has been rostered for various shifts and has been assured since yesterday that we want that to continue. While she is not currently doing any on-air shifts, this will be subject to normal performance management. I have spoken to Natasha and conveyed our regret that this has attracted such attention,” he said.
Labor senator Sam Dastyari added the incident raised serious questions of the treatment of staff at the ABC. “If she is going to be punished for such a minor, humorous and innocent error – I think bigger questions need to be asked about the culture of the ABC,” Dastyari said.
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