The ABC is continuing to face heavy criticism for its ‘misleading’ editing of footage of a twerking dance troupe unveiling new war ship HMAS Supply.
The dancers from 101Doll Squadron performed a racy routine before the arrival of Governor-General David Hurley and Defence Force chief Angus Campbell in Sydney Harbour on Saturday.
But the ABC edited the footage to make it appear those dignitaries were watching the raunchy moves, causing uproar from politicians and the general public.
The ABC has apologised for the ‘error’ but radio 2GB host Chris Smith has claimed the editing was deliberate.
‘Having spent countless thousands of hours in television edit suites in my 30-odd years I know how this stuff works,’ he said.
‘You’ve either got a tape, disk or a file of vision. It’s in chronological order.
‘To actually edit that together they would have to have gone to, say, the four minute mark of the file, put in the dance and then they would have had to fast forward all the way to about 30 minutes to find a shot of the governor-general.’
He added: ‘That is not a mistake! It was deliberate and damaging… They sucked us all in.’
Smith then had a message for the dance troupe, saying: ‘Girls you did well. That’s what you do. It’s just that the ABC and the Defence Department has mishandled the whole event.’
The dance troupe say they feel ‘threatened, exploited and unsafe’ amid widespread criticism of their routine and slammed the ABC for ‘deceptive’ editing.
Governor-General David Hurley (pictured wearing glasses) sat front and centre of the ceremony – but attended after the dance performance
The group members said: ‘We found this very creepy and reflects more on the ABC’s camera operator and their need to sexualise these women and their dance piece for their own gratification.
The troupe – which is made up of indigenous and multi-racial members – said they did not intend to be disrespectful and insist the footage was taken out of context.
The ABC said Smith’s accusation that the editing was deliberate was ‘incorrect’.
Earlier former soldier turned politician Jacqui Lambie called the decision to use suggestive dancing as an ‘absolute shocker’.
‘I thought I was watching the Super Bowl there for a split second, I’ll be honest with you,’ she told Nine’s Today show.
ABC’s statement on the dancing
ABC News’ original social media video about the Royal Australian Navy’s launch event for HMAS Supply on the weekend featured a performance by dance group 101 Doll Squadron that included cut-away shots showing Governor-General David Hurley, the Chief of Navy and the Chief of Defence observing the performance.
This was incorrect. While the Chief of Defence was present, the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy in fact arrived after the performance.
Our reporting team initially believed they were present both because they were shown in footage of the event and because a Government MP had said that they were present.
The video should not have been edited in that way and the ABC apologises to the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy, and to viewers, for this error.
After the Defence Department confirmed the Governor-General and Chief of Navy had arrived at the event after the performance, the reporting was amended. The report that went to air on the 7pm News bulletin on Wednesday night did not include the footage. The online story has also been updated to make this clear.
The ABC’s footage of the dance performance was shot in a standard manner, from the same position as other parts of the ceremony.
New Navy ship HMAS Supply has been launched by a group of scantily clad women twerking (pictured) in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo
‘Whoever made that call, it’s an absolute shocker for goodness’ sake.’
Senator Lambie added: ‘Good on those young ladies for getting out there, but I tell you, being half clothed outside a warship is probably inappropriate.
‘If that is the leadership in our defence forces, God help our sons and daughters who are serving.’
Another former soldier turned politician, LNP Member for Herbert Philip Thompson, said the military’s attempts to be more contemporary and inclusive were ill-conceived.
‘Standards in the ADF, and definitely when commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that,’ he told the ABC earlier this week.
‘Our ADF shouldn’t be left or right; they should be straight down the middle of what their job is, and their job is to defend our nation, our interests, our values, our sovereignty, but also when we go on operations, have an unapologetic aggression and violence to get the mission done.’
He added: ‘We’ve gone a little bit woke over the past few years and we can’t afford to be doing that.’
Videos from the event show seven women doing a choregraphed routine while dressed in black booty shorts and red crop tops and berets.
The HMAS Supply ship’s company stand on the upper decks at the completion of her commissioning ceremony (pictured on Saturday)
The launch was attended by officials including the Governor-General and the head of the Navy
Some commenters on social media agreed the dance move was too suggestive for an official government event.
‘Doesn’t matter who the girls are, this is not appropriate,’ one person said.
‘At a time when we are promoting the rights of women to not be objectified, there are other dance moves that would be fun and equally energetic.’
Other commenters found the incident ‘bizarre.’
‘I would flat out not believe you if the HMAS Supply banner wasn’t visible in the background. This is… too strange,’ said one.
‘It’s an interpretive dance, telling the story of how the Navy has no budget to put on proper entertainment for this ship launch after spending all their money on submarines,’ another joked.
Defence said the dance was arranged as an effort to ‘engage with the local community’
The Governor-General David Hurley (pictured) is seen arriving on Saturday at the ceremony for the new $2billion boat
A defence spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the dance was arranged to engage with the local community and preceded the formal part of the ceremony.
‘HMAS Supply and the Royal Australian Navy are committed to working with Australians from all backgrounds in actively supporting local charities and community groups,’ they said.
‘The dance was performed prior to the commencement of the Commissioning formalities and prior to the arrival of His Excellency the Governor General, Chief of Navy and Commander Australian Fleet.’
The HMAS Supply’s key role is to provide support to naval combat units. The vessel will now undergo testing.
What will the HMAS Supply will be used for?
HMAS Supply is the lead ship of two Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships currently being built for the Royal Australian Navy by Spanish shipbuilder, Navantia.
The Australian Supply Class ships are based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria Class design.
The ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.
In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief operations following a natural disaster.
Source: Australian Navy