The ABC has played down a violent incident involving the star of its weekly Anh’s Brush With Fame and far-right wing former Queensland senator Fraser Anning.
A spokesperson for ABC TV, Lee “No Not That One” Sayles, confirmed Mr Anning and artist and stand-up comic Anh Do were involved in a physical confrontation during the shooting of the latest episode of the popular 30-minute Wednesday evening program.
Anh’s Brush With Fame consists of artist and stand-up comic Anh Do painting the portrait of a prominent Australian while interviewing them about their life, challenges, hardships, and achievements.
Mr Sayles said the fight between Anh Do and Fraser Anning resulted from a mix-up in the program’s production office.
“Quite simply Mr Anning was invited onto the program by mistake,” he said.
“Anh’s guest was meant to be ABC journalist Ellen Fanning. But a junior production staffer incorrectly wrote down just her surname as ‘F. Anning’.
“That was passed on to someone to make the necessary calls and the error wasn’t picked up until Mr Anning turned up at Anh’s studio.
“Anh isn’t a big fan of Mr Anning, to put it mildly, and was quite irate when he saw him walk through the door.
“Anh’s a professional but he really didn’t have his heart in it and took a few seconds to execute a cursory sketch of Mr Anning as he sees him (main picture) then told him to, and I quote, ‘fuck off out of my studio’.
“This led to a heated argument and the two men jostled, abused, then punched each other for a few minutes with Anh finally throwing Mr Anning out the door.
“The whole encounter was shot by the cameras present but was all over in about five minutes, which is way too short for a regular Anh’s Brush With Fame.
“So we’ve decided to screen the show next week but we’ve been looking around for another program to fill the rest of the timeslot.”
Mr Sayles said it was likely the balance of the air time would be filled by a repeat of Bill Shorten’s election night concession speech, but dubbed to give the impression the Labor Party had won in a landslide.
“We’ve been playing that non-stop on the ABC in-house system ever since election night just to keep our spirits up,” Mr Sayle said.
“Just don’t tell the government, or Ita for that matter.”