The Channel 9 Australian rugby sportscast, The Footy Show, posted an apology to a family on Facebook recently after one of their announcers referred to their baby as "ugly" on national TV.
Melanie and Michael Richmond, from Avalon, Australia, said they were "still in shock and dumbfounded" after a Facebook image of their 18-month-old firstborn daughter Bella was broadcast on Thursday's episode of The Footy Show without their permission.
The TV show insists that no harm was intended to the family or their child. According to their statement, "...the Look-A-Likes photo was sent into The Footy Show by a friend of the family... We chose not to make a statement...but we did not refuse to apologise to the family and we did speak to the family on Friday and will do so again today to reassure them we never intended to cause hurt to them or their child and of course apologise if it did."
The controversy erupted after one of the show’s panelists called the photograph of Bella "ugly," before commenting that she looked like league great and Channel 9 commentator Peter Sterling.
The outraged parents said they are seeking an attorney, "We are going to seek legal advice because they (Channel 9) still haven't gotten back to us," he said yesterday. "We were going to let it go but we can't. Someone has put our baby on TV. We want to get some feedback on what our legal options are now" he added.
Michael Richmond said the image of his daughter was taken last year and posted on his wife's Facebook account. "I understand how Facebook works and that when you share photos they become public and there's nothing you can do," he said. "The fact is that somewhere, somehow, a producer has gotten a photo of my daughter and made the decision to put it on television.”
Previously fans of the show, the family says they’ll be switching off from now on. “I know it's supposed to be tongue in cheek but she's just a baby. It's not cool."