‘House of Hancock’ telemovie needed fact-checking

In the wake of Channel Nine’s screening of the controversial ‘House of Hancock’ melodrama last night, Hancock Prospecting executive director Tad Watroba has waded into the fray to Gina Rinehart’s defence.

Watroba issued a statement this morning which said many of the scenes in the anticipated television production were “fictitious, unfounded or grossly distorted, and some simply never occurred”.

The Hancock prospecting board member said this had repeatedly been brought to the attention of Nine CEO David Gyngell.

“I worked for Lang Hancock and have been with Mrs Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting since 1991 so I have a good grasp on what actually took place,” Watroba said.

“I know the facts, and this show has turned out to be a tacky grab for ratings, damaging the memory of good Australians along the way.

Watroba alleged the television network completely failed to perform any fact checking during promotion, despite repeated offers from people within Hancock Prospecting and associates of Mrs Rinehart.

“Sadly Channel 9 has seemingly gone out of its way to cause undue damage and upset to those currently living and the memory of those no longer with us,” he said.

A spokesperson for Mrs Rinehart also released a list of “glaring errors” in the show:

  • Despite the portrayal, Mr Hancock and Mrs Rinehart had a loving, father/daughter relationship, and were together throughout the funeral of Hope Hancock, and to portray otherwise is wrong.
  • Mrs Rinehart was very close to her mother and did not continue to holiday or honeymoon in the United States when her mother was dying as the show has suggested. That is a disgusting implication. There was no phone call to Mrs Rinehart to come home during her short honeymoon.
  • Mrs Rinehart did not participate in or condone doing deals with Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, nor did she or her father endorse a presentation to an investor group using a nuclear device for anti-environmental intent. That never happened.
  • Mr Hancock never told Mrs Rinehart that no one could ever love her, or that her husband never loved her. The scene was made up and untrue. Her relationship with Mr Frank Rinehart was very loving, and her mother loved her son in law also.
  • Nor was there a scene where Mr Hancock said terrible things about his daughter’s appearance.

Australian Mining contacted Channel Nine this morning, however they have refused to comment.

"At this point we are not making any formal comments. But to be clear House of Hancock is a television drama event," a spokeswoman for Channel Nine said.


In other news, Gina Rinehart has sold out of her 14.99 per cent share of Fairfax Holdings last Friday in a sale worth $306 million, SMH reported.

Hancock Prospecting chief development officer John Klepec said senior management at Fairfax had no plans for revitalising declining business and circulation.

"A series of bad decisions made by the leadership team has instead increased the number of publication errors and reduced the company's performance to cover news to standards expected to maintain the credibility of some of the oldest and finest newspaper mastheads in the country," he said.

It was reported by the Australian in 2012 that Rinehart wanted three seats on the Fairfax board, as well as the right to hire and fire editors.

Over the years Fairfax repeatedly blocked her attempts to secure a seat on the board of the company on the grounds of a charter of independence, even appointing TV personality Todd Sampson instead of Rinehart in 2014.

Image: Channel Nine

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