Longtime friends, casino billionaire James Packer and Nine CEO David Gyngell, were photographed engaging in a public fist fight in Bondi yesterday afternoon, with reports the pictures have been sold to NewsLimited for $200,000.
Onlookers said Gyngell was waiting for 20 minutes for Packer to return home, where the two men exchanged profanities before the altercation became physical.
What prompted the fight remains unknown, however Fairfax Media reported the pair’s relationship became strained after Packer split from former wife Erica Baxter.
There are reportedly more than 50 photos in the set to be published in NewsLimited mastheads.
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) May 5, 2014
A twitter parody account quickly appeared online after heavily watermarked versions of the pictures were published on News.com.au.
Up next, Miranda VS Wendi — NewsCorpWatermark (@NewsWatermark) May 5, 2014
It’s one of thousands of tongue-in-cheek tweets spreading across the internet trying to make sense of the punch-up and News Limited’s heavy-handed branding.
There was also a wave of “first photos” claiming to be the images in question.
FIrst photo of the Packer/Gyngell brawl? pic.twitter.com/zaovsmi6uu
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) May 4, 2014
This may or may not be the first image of the James Packer vs David Gyngell fight pic.twitter.com/iURKPkznTi
— Ric Allport (@SuperTriviaGuy) May 5, 2014
The billionaire businessman and the TV executive, who was best man at Packer’s wedding, issued a joint statement insisting they remain friends after news of the fracas broke.
“We have been friends for 35 years and still are,” they said.
“In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs.
“We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further.”
We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further
Bondi resident Chris Walker, who says he witnessed the incident, tweeted about a “massive street fight” outside the Packer home on Sunday afternoon.
He later described the fight on his Facebook page.
“Holy crap, big street fight outside my house … Not thugs, James Packer … And some other angry bloke going toe-to-toe – total brawl … Wow.”
A witness told Ten News he heard Mr Gyngell yelling on a phone that he was waiting for Mr Packer, who arrived home a short while later.
No words were exchanged as the two “went at it hammer and tongs”, Ten said the witness told them.
The fight had to be broken up by Mr Packer’s security guards and a limousine driver.
The relationship between the two is said to have soured after Mr Packer separated from his wife Erica Baxter last year.
The incident also comes days after Miranda Kerr, with whom Packer has been rumoured to be romantically involved, returned to Australia on a promotional visit.
Other media reports suggest Mr Packer believed that a Nine satellite news van had been parked outside his house.