News, Culture & Society

Australian news presenters IGNORE Novak Djokovic mic scandal when presenting evening news

The two under-fire TV personalities embroiled in the Novak Djokovic ‘hot mic’ scandal ignored the issue when presenting the news in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

7News Melbourne co-hosts Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor failed to address the incident which went viral after they heavily criticised the tennis world number one after a court ruled he would be allowed to stay in Australia on Monday.

Maddern has since apologised to her bosses in Melbourne for badmouthing Serbian superstar Djokovic alongside fellow presenter Amor – but the duo didn’t acknowledge the incident to their audience.

They even began the nightly news with a segment about the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s recent statement about his movements after testing Covid-positive last month.

It comes as Channel 7 has launched an internal investigation in a bid to identify the mystery leaker. 

The now infamous expletive-laden rant, which appears to have taken place as the pair prepared to present the station’s 6pm news program, included Maddern saying: ‘Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole.’

The two under-fire TV personalities embroiled in the Novak Djokovic hot mic scandal ignored the issue when presenting the news in Melbourne on Wednesday night (pictured, TV star Rebecca Maddern)

Rebecca Maddern and co-host Mike Amor were caught heavily criticising Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic in leaked footage

Rebecca Maddern and co-host Mike Amor were caught heavily criticising Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic in leaked footage

Amor responded: ‘He got a bullshit f*****g excuse and then fell over his own f*****g lies. It’s just what happens, right, that’s what happened.’

Maddern added that there were multiple errors made in the process of cancelling and then reinstating Djokovic’s visa to play at the Australian Open.

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, Craig McPherson, Seven’s Director of News and Public Affairs, said the person responsible for leaking the ‘private conversation’ would be dealt with.

‘The illegal recording was of a private conversation between two colleagues,’ he said.

‘It was an underhanded, cowardly act in breach of the Victorian Listening Devices legislation the perpetrator of which will be accordingly dealt with when found.’

Another executive, Melbourne chief Lewis Martin, told Radio 3AW the probe into the leaker was well underway.

Mr Martin said he had spoken with Maddern and she had apologised to him.

‘We have got broadcast operations people that are looking into it from last night,’ he said. ‘So they are working out how the vision was recorded and how it was distributed.’

Entertainment journalist Peter Ford said finding the leaker can be 'narrowed down to the timecode you see in the top right hand corner'

Entertainment journalist Peter Ford said finding the leaker can be ‘narrowed down to the timecode you see in the top right hand corner’

Djokovic landed in Australia with a medical exemption from vaccination on the basis he had tested positive to Covid-19 on December 16 but was detained for five days when border force officials denied the exemption.

He’s since been released from detention but it is still unclear if he will be able to play in the Australian Open beginning next Monday.

In the wake of the news presenters’ comments, Twitter erupted with many throwing their support behind the pair, while others have speculated leaking the footage was an inside job – or even a publicity stunt – given Maddern only recently began the role.

Entertainment journalist Peter Ford said finding the leaker can be ‘narrowed down to the timecode you see in the top right hand corner’ of the clip.

‘Not every outlet getting the feed gets this. Also quite possibly it’s not within 7 building itself as play out centre, affiliates and others get the feed,’ he tweeted.

‘It shouldn’t have happened and no doubt there will be a witch-hunt. But what’s the sin?

‘Two experienced journalists having a private conversation about a heated and complex issue – and using language many people in the ‘real world’ use.’ 

Rebecca Maddern (pictured) was heard repeatedly slamming the tennis star

Her colleague Mike Amor (pictured) quickly joined in on the rant

Rebecca Maddern (pictured, left) was heard repeatedly slamming the tennis star, while colleague Mike Amor (right) quickly joined in on the rant

Maddern is just one week into her role as the Seven Network’s newsreader, having recently said she had landed her ‘dream job.’

‘It is a job of a lifetime; these opportunities don’t come up very often,’ she said.

‘You only have to look at the main anchors and how long they have been in those roles, so it is not lost on me how lucky I am.’

She added: ‘It is a real honour to be leading the team alongside Mike Amor.’

Maddern began working at Seven in 2002, serving as a news reporter on programs such as Seven Afternoon News and Sunrise.

She left Seven in 2016 and immediately signed with Nine.

Their expletive-laden rant, which appears to have taken place as they prepared to present the station's 6pm news program, included Maddern saying: 'whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole' (pictured with his wife, above)

Their expletive-laden rant, which appears to have taken place as they prepared to present the station’s 6pm news program, included Maddern saying: ‘whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole’ (pictured with his wife, above)

Maddern confirmed in late October she had walked away from Nine after almost six years at the network.

As of Wednesday, the Australian Federal Government was still preparing paperwork to try and boot Djokovic out of the country, with sources warning letting him stay would set a ‘dangerous precedent’.

It is understood the government is willing to receive harsh backlash internationally over the issue in order to maintain its ‘tough on Covid’ border stance.

The world no. 1 was originally set to be given the boot after being detained at an immigration hotel over the weekend but won a battle in the Federal Circuit Court to remain in the country and chase his 10th Australian Open title.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is expected to hand down his decision on Thursday with bureaucrats from the Department of Home Affairs’ investigating inconsistencies in the tennis star’s story.

Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture late on Monday night, thanking fans for sticking by him as well as the judge who ordered his release

Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture late on Monday night, thanking fans for sticking by him as well as the judge who ordered his release 

Novak Djokovic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday - with his future at the tournament still uncertain

Novak Djokovic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday – with his future at the tournament still uncertain

Of most concern to Australian government officials is Djokovic’s admitted breach of Serbia’s isolation rules after learning he had tested positive and the false information he provided on his travel entry form which he later blamed on his agent.

Lingering mystery also surrounds when the 20-time Grand Slam winner actually learned he had Covid with a German publication sowing doubt on his PCR test after QR Code information was uncovered that ‘did not match up’.

The 34-year-old disclosed he had attended an event with children while he was Covid positive, but claimed he didn’t know he was infected until afterwards.

He had taken a PCR test the day before and was awaiting results, but said he tested negative to a rapid antigen test so went along.

Djokovic has been the subject of intense scrutiny for presenting awards to kids at an event in Belgrade on December 17 – a day after recording a positive result for the virus.

He called his decision to go ahead with the Q and A an ‘error in judgement’ but said he maintained social distancing and wore a mask.

The tennis ace is also in hot water for various inconsistencies on his Australian declaration form.

Djokovic falsely said he had not travelled to any other countries in the 14 days prior to arriving in Melbourne, but it was later revealed he had been in Spain.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S CASE 

Will Novak Djokovic play at the Australian Open? Nobody will know until the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke declares his hand – either to allow Djokovic to stay in Australia or to re-cancel his visa.

If he does not decide to cancel his visa, Djokovic will be free to stay in Australia and defend his title. 

What happened in court? Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the decision to tear up Djokovic’s visa and ordered him to be freed and his belongings to be returned.

Will he still be deported? Again, this comes down to immigration minister Alex Hawke. The Djokovic case has been a debacle for the government and divided Australians over the best course of action.

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