Article – Gina Rinehart brings Nine Network to heel over ‘fictionalised’ series

25 February 2017
Stephen Brook
The Australian

The Nine Network’s House of Hancock mini-series will never be seen again after billionaire Gina Rinehart extracted an apology from the broadcaster.

Nine and production company Cordell Jigsaw have agreed that the mini-series, a dramatisation about the life of mining magnate Lang Hancock and his family, including his daughter Gina, will not be sold to streaming channels, foreign markets or released again on DVD.

As well, the program-makers issued an unreserved apology.

The mining magnate took legal action for defamation against Nine and Cordell Jigsaw after the two-part mini-series screened in February 2015. The program, starring Sam Neil as Lang Hancock and Mandy Mc­Elhinney as Mrs Rinehart, ­attracted more than 1.3 million viewers in metro markets.

The program-makers yesterday released a statement admitting that certain scenes in the program “were fictionalised for dramatic purposes”.

“Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept Mrs Rinehart found the broadcast to be inaccurate. That was certainly not the intention of Nine or Cordell Jigsaw, and each unreservedly apologises to Mrs Rinehart and her family for any hurt or offence caused by the broadcast and its promotion,” the two parties said in a statement.

“Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept Mrs Rinehart had a very loving and close relationship with her mother, father and husband, and has with Hope and Ginia.
“They also acknowledge the significant contribution that Mrs Rinehart has made to Australia through her years of hard work and dedication and by her investment in this country, to its industry, economy and to the employ­ment of Australians and by her longstanding support of elite sport and numerous worthwhile charities.”

Mrs Rinehart said the case was “never about the money” and called on politicians to instigate legal reform to protect people in the public eye from “unfair media conduct”.

“Mrs Rinehart and others who truly knew the Hancock family and Mrs Rinehart, were dis­appointed such an inaccurate and distorted mini-series against their family (and) family members who greatly contributed to our country was aired by Channel Nine, which did not depict the actual people, and is pleased she has received a public apology.

“This case was not about money. It was about Mrs Rinehart standing up for her deeply loved family members to try to stop the further spreading of unfair and grossly disgraceful falsehoods about her family, especially when certain of her family members are no longer here able to defend themselves,” Mrs Rinehart said in a statement. “This matter was not just about the fundamental right of Mrs Rinehart and her family not to have lies and misrepresentations spread publicly about them — Mrs Rinehart hopes this will lead to the greater protection of others from such unfair conduct by the media and lead our politicians to activate long overdue reform in this area.”

In February 2015, Mrs Rinehart took Nine to court before the second episode screened and forced it to broadcast a line at the start referring to the program as “fictionalised” drama.

Courtesy of The Australian
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