1,816 Complaints over Rollercoaster Crash Interview but No Investigation - iMediaEthics

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The Smiler Rollercoster ride (Credit: Geograph.co.uk)

Sky News’ Kay Burley’s interview with theme park CEO Nick Varney prompted 1,816 complaints to UK broadcast regulator OfCom, the Press Gazette reported.

Despite the high number of complaints, OfCom decided not to investigate the complaints because Varney was given a chance to respond to the questions and defend himself.

OfCom told iMediaEthics by e-mail:

“Ofcom received a number of complaints about Kay Burley’s questioning style during an interview about an accident at Alton Towers. We have carefully assessed whether this interview exceeded generally accepted standards.

“In our view, the interviewee was able to respond fully to the questions and put his position across. As a result we have not taken the matter forward for investigation.”

Burley interviewed Varney, the CEO of theme park Merlin Entertainment, about a recent rollercoaster accident that led to several serious injuries.

As of June 11, more than 1,100 complaints were filed over the June 3 Sky News interview. In it, Burley repeatedly asked Varney if anyone “lost a limb” in the accident, as iMediaEthics reported at the time, to which Varney responded that was “personal” information he couldn’t share. Burley also said viewers and victims wouldn’t care about his and the company’s sympathy over the accident. Burley also challenged Varney over the safety measures in place at the park.

Viewers were upset that the interview was too aggressive. For his part, Varney complained on air that Burley was “misrepresenting” his comments and making “not true” statements. “Among viewers complaints were allegations that Burley was overly aggressive during the interview when she questioned him about safety at the park and the extent of the injuries suffered by the people involved,” the Irish Examiner reported.

Merlin Entertainment declined to comment to iMediaEthics about the interview or OfCom decision.

UPDATE: 6/21/2015 8:58 PM EST With more information

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1,816 Complaints over Rollercoaster Crash Interview but No Investigation

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