Sunday, 15 February 2009

Quick hit: Veitch returns to broadcasting, on Sky

From this morning's NZ Herald:
Embattled broadcaster Tony Veitch is returning to television, seven months after quitting TVNZ amid allegations he assaulted his former partner.

Veitch, 34, who faces seven charges of assault, has been hired as a panellist by Murray Deaker for his Sky TV show Deaker on Sport. His first appearance screens live this Wednesday, and comes as Veitch is also nominated as a finalist for best sports presenter in TV Guide's annual awards.

Veitch's chance to resurrect his broadcasting career follows a personal approach from Deaker, who has overcome his own personal demons. Deaker said Veitch deserved a chance.

"He is a talented broadcaster, he loves sport and he should be given the opportunity to work. He hasn't had any work for six months and the case is many months away from being heard so, in my opinion, it's time he got back on the horse again.
On the one hand he's innocent until proven guilty and certainly my unionist soul feels uncomfortable that he be denied an income when he hasn't been convicted. On the other I find this very icky, particularly given that he has actually admitted at least a part of the assault allegations, and he didn't really do a fabulous job with the apology. His actions since the allegations surfaced appeared to me to be more about limiting and managing damage to himself, which I suppose is only human, but...

We wrote a lot about Tony Veitch last year, and it looks like the typing isn't over yet.


Brett Dale said...

Bad move by sky, they shouldn't have hired him.

Cat said...

Surely the problem here is not Sky or whoever hired him, but the justice system - from what I understand, he's unlikely to face trial until at least next year. Until then he's in crazy limbo land, which isn't fair to anyone, accuser or accused.

I wonder how many other people in a similar situation to Veitch carry on in employment until their trial, without the public knowing all about it, because they're not public figures..

Hugh said...

From a PR standpoint this is probably not a good move by Sky. While he is still innocent until proven guilty (whatever you may think of the merits of this approach), in the eyes of much of the public he's an abuser, and many people may well switch off in protest. Of course I'm not exactly a regular consumer of sports TV, so it's possible that I'm misreading the demographic.

I do wonder, though, if Sky were to refuse to hire him for a job for which he is (presumably) otherwise qualified on the basis of his impending trial, and he were found to be innocent (again, however unlikely you may find that to be, let's suppose), they might find themselves exposed to an unlawful dismissal lawsuit.

stargazer said...

in the eyes of much of the public he's an abuser, and many people may well switch off in protest

actually, in the eyes of the sportswatching public, i don't think he is. he seems to have a lot of defenders & his PR team also appear to have been reasonably successful. i think the audience that this programme is pitching to are not going to be bothered with having veitch on air, in fact they may even be happy to have him back.

Cat said...

While he is still innocent until proven guilty (whatever you may think of the merits of this approach)

Hugh, I'm curious, what other approaches could replace this one?

Hugh said...

Hugh, I'm curious, what other approaches could replace this one?

I couldn't speak for that really, I'm just aware that a lot of people have problems with that concept, or at least the way it's applied. I'm not sure this is the appropriate forum to discuss it though.

actually, in the eyes of the sportswatching public, i don't think he is.

And why do you think that is?

Lucy said...

And why do you think that is?

Because, to grossly stereotype the "sportswatching public", or at least a part of it, it was his ex laying the complaint and there's probably a certain attitude about vengeful women in play. Oh, and Veitch was a well-known presenter who came across as a good guy, and there is, therefore, an unwillingness to believe the worst of him, in much the same way that I'd want to disbelieve it if the host of a show I liked faced such accusations.

I can imagine that Sky will do very well with this demographic, bringing him back. I can't even say that it's fair he should be essentially denied work until his trial; I just wish there was a solution that didn't involve what appears to be his public rehabilitation, sans acquittal.

Anna said...

I'm entirely comfortable with the idea that Veitch be denied work prior to his trial. He admitted to breaking his wife's back, and not in any meaningful way repentant about it (remember the apology that went 'I'm sorry, but...'?)

So right now, he's a public figure who, if he doesn't condone violence, doesn't seriously disavow it - and that sort of person isn't suitable to be a public figure. The greater good has to be balanced against Veitch's rights - and the right to work is not the same as the 'right' to be a well paid public broadcaster anyway.

Veitch deserves a second chance - but after he's actually remorseful for what he's done.

backin15 said...

Stargazer, I suspect you're right about the "sportswatching public". He had a reputation as a nice bloke and it's remarkable how that's endured. I'm part of the sportswatchers, ardently in fact, and I'm less than impressed but agree it's complex. He's not yet been tried but enough's known, from him or others, to make clear that he did significantly hurt (I'll avoid legal terms like "assault") his partner. From my perspective, that alone is enough to make him unsuitable as a role model.

jeff said...

Good on him, he is afterall an innocent victim of a vandictive ex girlfirend. I told Tony when he first mer her that she was a manipulative nut case, but when a guy is in love what can you do. some people need to come with a "warning domestic nutcase" sign attached, and this women is one of them.

Hugh said...

Anna, from what you're saying, it seems you don't just want Veitch to be denied work until his trial, you want him to be denied it afterward too, regardless of what the verdict is. None of the circumstances you've outlined will change after the trial, after all.

I've got to admit, I'm not entirely comfortable with the eye that just because a job gives you a high public profile there should be a moral test implicit in that job above and beyond, say, working as a cleaner.

Anna said...

I don't think it's a choice between Veitch working as a cleaner or working as a sportscaster. I just don't want him in the public eye, where he might be perceived as a role model.

The trial won't change my view of him a great deal - but what would change my view is a concession that what he did was utterly out of line. Not 'Sorry, but...' - just 'Sorry'.

When people in the public eye slip up, they're expected to fall on their swords, or they're made to. It's the quid pro quo of accepting the benefits of a high profile position. The most recent example I can think of is Carol Thatcher losing her broadcasting job after making a racist comment - the BBC didn't want to be seen to condoning her behaviour (about which she was unrepentant). I don't think that's at all unreasonable - I don't think many others would either. So I reckon if you can be denied a high profile position for making a racist remark, breaking someone's back is pretty good reason too.

Hugh said...

OK Anna, I'm sorry if this seems pedantic but let me check that I'm understanding you correctly on a few points.

You're saying that people who are unrepentant (as opposed to unconvicted) abusers shouldn't be in positions where they're role models.

You're also saying that you would be comfortable with Veitch resuming his job, and presumably not facing any other penalty except for what the law does or doesn't impose on him, if he were to apologise in a satisfactory way.

Finally, you're saying that somebody who is high profile is necessarily a role model.

Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

Such a dangerous slipperly slide you are embarking on if you suggest that the "sports watching public" endorse beating women.

It reminds me of posts here about rugby and domestic violence.

You got to stop stereotyping men, sports viewers etc.

Anna said...

Anon, I actually agree to some extent. My partner is an ardent sports fan as well as a solid pro-feminist. It's important to recognise as well the efforts of people like Reuben Wiki who have been outspoken against violence towards women.

On the other hand, Women's Refuge reminds us of the link between sporting events and domestic violence (this is complex, mind you - not straightforward cause and effect).

Perhaps it's helpful to distinguish between the culture attached to sport and the actual people who watch/participate? To be honest, I think any backlash to Veitch's appointment is more likely to come from non-sports fans than fans. But I could be pleasantly surprised...

Julie said...

@ jeff, of 5.46pm yesterday. I direct you to our comment policy. We have absolutely no idea as to who you are or what veracity your comments have, and I would encourage readers to treat your contribution as such.

And I'm not sure how innocent of assault someone can be when they have at least partly admitted what they are accused of.

backin15 said...

Anon's point about the sportswatching public's important. They're not homogenous... but I can't help but think there's a little too much tolerance for Veitch 'cause he seems likable.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the sportsfans link - I mean, there's obviously some people out there who think Veitch is a nice guy and that somehow mitigates him admitting what he did enough for them. But I can't imagine, even in my darkest moments, that most people would feel comfortable watching him.

I come from a sports mad family - esp. rugby, and I asked my Dad whether he'd be watching Veitch, (he has Sky), and he said he couldn't stomach it. It's just much I think.

I'm giving kiwi sportswatching men the benefit of the doubt on this one - I reckon Deaker made the wrong decision, mainly because there are a lot of men who just won't feel right about watching Veitch.