The broadcaster has bowed to a wave of public anger by quitting the sports pilot – though Sky sources suggest he would have been ousted regardless.
Yesterday convicted domestic abuser Tony Veitch announced he’d be returning to our screens in a new “hard-hitting” sports show on Sky TV. The announcement was met with outrage, disbelief, and some genuine sadness at the willingness of the New Zealand public to forget the wrongdoings of our public figures. Despite the fact that Veitch would not be hosting the show (he was to appear as a panelist, with Bernadine Oliver-Kerby as host), the ambiguity of his own announcement led many to believe that he had been handed hosting duties.
Perhaps the tide has turned. This morning Sky TV confirmed that Tony Veitch will no longer be a part of the show and they are in the process of finding new panelists for the pilot. It was apparently Veitch himself who made the decision, though a Sky spokesperson said the company was “taking the matter seriously” regardless, and “Tony made the decision before we took it any further”.
In an opinion piece published on The Spinoff yesterday, Madeleine Holden articulated the problem many have with Veitch.
“It’s time to get Tony Veitch off our screens forever and let talented people who aren’t abusers have a chance instead,” she wrote. “It really is that simple. You can believe in the importance of forgiveness and rehabilitation and still think abusers should forfeit the right to occupy public, highly-desirable, role-model positions.”
A source familiar with the production’s thinking told The Spinoff that “at the end of the day we are trying to really make an effort with customers to turn around our reputation.” The strength of the reaction to the Veitch hire showed the company just how strongly people still feel about the broadcaster, the source said, adding “this has been a really good case study”.
When asked whether there would be further analysis of the decision internally, the source simply said: “yes”.