ABC apologises to Camp Gallipoli CEO over Tonightly skit

ABC apologises to Camp Gallipoli CEO over Tonightly skit

Tonightly has caused another headache for ABC management weeks after being axed.

The broadcaster has apologised for a six-month old Tom Ballard monologue where the presenter blasted the Camp Gallipoli Foundation over claims it failed to distribute money to RSLs and other veteran organisations.

However, the ABC now concedes that Ballard went too far. In a statement a spokesperson said the ABC wished to acknowledge that fundraising wasn't Camp Gallipoli's sole purpose.

"The ABC accepts that it did not have a proper basis to suggest that Mr Fox acted improperly in his role as CEO of the Camp Gallipoli Foundation," a spokesperson said. "[We] unreservedly withdraw the statement made by Mr Ballard that the Camp Gallipoli concept was a poorly-conceived plan that ballooned into a costly and devastating failure thanks to the greed and hubris of those in command.


"The ABC unreservedly apologises to Mr Fox for the embarrassment and distress caused to him by reason of the broadcast."

Camp Gallipoli was stripped of its charity status in late 2016 following a Fairfax Media investigation. At the time, the organisation was unable to substantiate claims it had donated money to RSL branches and Legacy clubs despite collecting millions of dollars in donations, sponsorships and ticket sales.

Tom Ballard

Tom BallardCredit:Diego Lorenzo F. Jose

Tonightly was given the chop in August, just days after the television industry watchdog cleared the program of any wrongoing after it labelled a conservative political candidate a "c---" on-air. The show battled low ratings throughout its two seasons, along with strong criticism from the likes of Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

At the time, an ABC spokesman said the show was being axed to make way for a "fresh approach" when it comes to chasing a young audience.

"Tonightly deliberately pushed boundaries to inform and entertain," the spokesman said. "We are proud of the program and its role in supporting some of Australia's best emerging comedy talent... we look forward to working with them again in the future."

Broede Carmody is an entertainment reporter at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald

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