TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick has offered a personal statement answering concerns expressed today about the involvement of Peter Williams in reading an abusive message, apparently from a viewer, which was in fact not genuine.
“I’ve had numerous questions today asking how a journalist and presenter of his seniority and standing could have done such a thing. It is crucial to our integrity as a news organisation that we don’t allow people to think that Peter’s contribution to the news story was a deliberate falsification intended to deceive viewers.
I have spoken with Peter at length and I understand that the invitation to him to participate suggested a similarity with a show by American comic Jimmy Kimmel that featured celebrities reading out unkind tweets. This led him to believe, incorrectly, that the item was intended to be comic.
Peter had no involvement in the editorial decisions around the item and was unaware of the context until it went to air. At that point he immediately spoke up to say his contribution was invented.
He has offered me and our viewers his most sincere apologies.
This of course doesn’t excuse what happened and we are taking a thorough look at our processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
We’ll be making sure any complaints coming to us are dealt with quickly, and the outcome of any formal complaints will be made public.”