The leaker of the extraordinary hot-mike footage of Seven Network newsreaders laying into Novak Djokovic has been tracked down after an investigation across several companies.
The footage of Melbourne newsreaders Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor blasting Djokovic in an expletive-laden exchange went viral on social media on Wednesday.
On Friday afternoon, Ai-Media Technologies Limited, which provides a caption service for Seven, said it had confirmed one of its employees was responsible.
“Ai-Media has identified that an employee working remotely due
to the COVID-19 outbreak was responsible for the unauthorised distribution of the content,” the company said in a statement to the ASX.
“Appropriate action has been taken with regard to the employee responsible.”
The statement did not detail what exactly the action was.
Watch the full clip here (warning: Coarse language)
The grainy leaked footage of the pair shows them blasting the Serbian tennis star as a “sneaky a—hole” and questioning whether he lied on travel documents.
“Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a—hole,” Maddern says.
“It’s unfortunate that everybody else stuffed up around him.
“To go out when you know you’re COVID-positive – well, I don’t think he was even COVID-positive …”
Amor also called Djokovic an “a—hole” and added: “You’ve got a bulls–t f—ing excuse and then he fell over his own f—ing lies, which is what happens, right? That’s what’s happened.”
Seven honed in on the Ai-Media as the source of the leak because of a time stamp on the video footage, and also its grainy quality.
“We are Australia’s leading provider of captioning services and we understand the importance of our work in making media accessible and
inclusive to a wider audience, while safeguarding the confidential information of our customers,” chief executive Tony Abrahams said.
“This is the first such incident in Ai-Media’s 19-year history, and enhanced controls have since been implemented to ensure it cannot be repeated.”
The sensational footage made global headlines. It came in just Maddern’s second week back at Seven after a stint at rival Channel Nine.
Elsewhere, the federal government is still weighing up whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa after irregularities emerged in travel documents submitted to the Federal Court.
In the leaked footage, Maddern questions whether Djokovic lied on the forms, as Amor said “I think he’s going to get away with it”.
“Most fair-minded people would say, ‘The bloke’s an a—hole’. Did they do the right thing by him? I don’t know. They f—ed it up. That’s the problem, isn’t it?” he said.
There has been no announcement from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who has the discretionary power to cancel the Serbian’s visa and bar him from the country for three years.
Seven was furious about the leak, with news and public affairs director Craig McPherson describing it as an “illegal recording was of a private conversation between two colleagues”.
“It was an underhanded, cowardly act in breach of the Victorian Listening Devices legislation the perpetrator of which will be accordingly dealt with when found,” he said on Wednesday.
Channel Seven managing director Lewis Martin said Maddern had apologised.
“It is something that is going to be looked at and is being looked at thoroughly,” he said.
“We are going to have an outcome. What has happened here is illegal.”