Nothing on camera yet: Mike Willesee speaks to the media in Bali on Tuesday. Photo: Justin McManusTwo of Channel Seven’s biggest stars clashed spectacularly on Tuesday over the network’s paid exclusive interview with Schapelle Corby and whether she should be allowed to benefit from the proceeds of crime.
But the Indonesian authorities threatened to throw a dampener on proceedings, issuing a warning that there were some limits to what the parolled drug trafficker was legally able to say after her release.
The clash came as a bidding war between media organisations netted $20,000 for the first photo of Corby without her mask.
David Koch hit out at his network colleague Mike Willesee’s exclusive contract with the Corby family over the reputed $2 million fee.
”I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network. Totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million,” Koch said on Sunrise.
Co-host Samantha Armytage responded: ”Too late for that.”
While noting his wife disagreed with his view, Koch said: ”I know Indonesia’s corrupt and all that sort of stuff but, you know, she’s convicted, so why pay the money?”
Willesee struck back immediately, saying the figure quoted by Koch was ”crazy … way silly”.
”Kochie can speak for himself. He got it drastically wrong, he’ll be proven to be wrong. That’s the only bit of dissension that I’m aware of and that’s just one guy having his opinion.”
The way Willesee tells it, no money has yet changed hands, and it is not even certain an interview will take place. ”I really don’t know. There are a few things up in the air … It’s not a sure thing and it’s not a close thing.”
On Monday, Corby was swept away from the media pack at the Bali Corrections Board office, with Willesee as part of the family convoy. He and his crew followed her into her luxury accommodation at the Sentosa Seminyak spa and villas, where they are staying.
The TV current affairs legend said that, by Tuesday morning, he still had not met Corby, had not spoken to her or any members of the family, and did not know which family members were located in the compound.
A note of warning about the interview came from Bali Corrections Board head Ketut Artha who said ”it’s possible” Corby’s parole could be revoked if she spoke too provocatively.
”We’d have to review what exactly has been said … and we’ll advise her, warn her, about it,” Mr Ketut said. ”But if it’s fatal, we’ll definitely review her parole.”
Asked what statement might prove ”fatal”, Mr Ketut would not comment.
Indonesian newspaper Kompas quoted an MP saying the Parliament’s legal affairs commission would soon discuss establishing a ”Corby working committee” to investigate the process of her being granted parole.
Sarifuddin Sudding said the prospect had already been canvassed informally among committee members: ”Corby deserved the death penalty from the start,” he said.
The first clear picture of Corby has been published after Woman’s Day paid $20,000 for an image of her celebrating after her release.
The snap showed a smiling Corby clinking a beer with her brother Michael. Fairfax Media has been told the image was taken by a friend.
Late on Tuesday, Mercedes Corby said ”the sums being reported are ridiculous” and her sister would speak to someone she trusted: ”It was never a matter of going with the highest bidder.”
”We also love the style of Sunday Night and, after meeting Mark Llewellyn, felt it was a good fit, particularly as we believe Mike Willesee is a great choice of interviewer.
”This choice was made easier with Channel Nine broadcasting a film based on a book which is full of false allegations and which we are taking defamation action against.”
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