I suppose the argument goes that it’s a good yarn and deserved to be told because domestic assault is a serious issue and knowing about public figures who are alleged wife-bashers is in the public interest.
But I can’t help wondering why the Dominion Post felt it was the right thing to do to break the Tony Veitch story on Monday some two years after the alleged assault and cover-up.
I’d like to know why the paper thought exposing Veitch and Dunne-Powell and their families was in the public interest.
And I think we should be asking who the anonymous source is on this story, particularly when the juciest quotes are attributed to this obviously knowledgable source:
Rumours of the incident, which happened after the couple ended their four-year relationship, have circulated for more than a year.
“Kristin had been living at Tony’s house in St Heliers in 2005 but she had moved out when this happened,” a source, who asked not to be named, revealed.
“It was really very nasty indeed. Kristin was in a wheelchair for some time but they agreed to stick to a story that she had fallen on the stairs. I’m still not sure why Kristin did that, but obviously Tony was worried it could finish his career, and he loves his job.
“They both moved on with their lives but the repercussions went on and on. There have been rumours, but they’ve been able to keep a lid on it. Then the lawyers got involved, there were negotiations and Tony made an offer. He just wanted it to go away – forever.”
I was asked to comment on TV3 last night and said that I thought Veitch was the victim of his own celebrity. If he’d been a bricklayer, or bus driver it’s unlikley that the story would have got such a run, or become such a cause celebre in the small New Zealand media gene pool.
Given the serious nature of the allegations and the high profile Veitch enjoyed as one of the country’s top sports journalists (a reputation I have no comment on) I told TV3 that TVNZ and the Radio Network had no choice but to cut him loose.
But I had an interesting email from a friend this morning (whom I won’t name, but whom I can vouch for). He pointed out that Tony should probably have not been on air on Monday night for his own health and safety.
Saw a clip of you last night on 3, and throw the following into the mix:
One point missing from (or heavily disguised in) Veitch coverage are the separate duty of care and fiduciary duty responsibilities which rest on his employers: IE, they should be careful in letting an employee in crisis on air because of the health and other personal risks to them, and the potential for commercial/broadcasting standards harm in the event of performance failure by the employee in crisis (and the consequent actions against the company by regulator, audience, advertisers, and employee, etc). In my view these considerations (quite distinct from, and without prejudice to, the wider “who did what” employment and public interest issues which are being heavily canvassed) should have meant that Veitch did not front his programmes on the day the story broke, and until such time as individual and corporate safety could be properly assessed.
- Screen capture of Tony Veitch Celebrity Speakers profile