More than 1,100 complaints have been filed over a Sky News interview about a roller coaster crash.
“Ofcom has received 1,162 complaints about Kay Burley’s interview with Alton Towers Chief Executive, Nick Varney, on Sky News on June 3rd,” UK broadcast regulator OfCom told iMediaEthics by e-mail. “We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not.”
Sky News’ Kay Burley interviewed Merlin Entertainment chief executive Nick Varney June 3 and repeatedly asked whether someone “lost a limb” during a June accident at Varney’s company’s amusement park, Alton Towers.
“Four people suffered serious leg injuries and were left suspended eight metres off the ground for several hours after a collision between two carriages,” the Guardian reported at the time. Sixteen people were “trapped on the rollercoaster at a 45-degree angle.”
“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.
Burley said to Varney, “I’m sure they are not interested in your sympathy at this stage. They went to have a fantastic day and they have potentially lost a limb. You won’t tell us if they have or not.”
Varney countered that it was “absolutely personal information to those individuals and their families,” so he wouldn’t respond to the question.
Burley then said, “I’m sure sir they are more appalled at the fact that the safety measures weren’t adequate.”
Varney acknowledged, “Look, they clearly weren’t adequate…because the accident happened.”
Varney said he wasn’t “making any excuses” and acknowledged “something went badly wrong,” but that the park’s safety measures have been “very stringent” and that it is adding “another layer” of safety.
When Burley said the rides weren’t safe, Varney said, “That’s not true and you keep on saying.” He claimed Burley was “misrepresenting” his comments.
See the interview below.
iMediaEthics has written to Sky News for comment.
Hat Tip: The Guardian.