Australian linked to Weinstein scandal sues Channel Nine
An Australian journalist who was named as one of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's "army of spies" has succeeded in stopping Channel Nine airing footage of him obtained in the lobby of his New York office.
Dylan Howard, a former Channel Seven journalist who is now the chief content officer at US magazine giant American Media Inc - publisher of titles including OK! USA, National Enquirer and US Weekly - filed proceedings against Channel Nine last week alleging trespass to land.
Howard and American Media sought court orders restraining the broadcaster from airing footage obtained in the lobby of the publisher's New York headquarters on March 7 this year and requiring Channel Nine to hand over the allegedly "improperly obtained material" for destruction.
Nine journalist Liam Bartlett, who works for 60 Minutes, was also named as a defendant.
But the NSW Supreme Court heard on Tuesday that the matter had been settled.
Channel Nine agreed, without making any admissions, "not to broadcast or otherwise publish" footage obtained when its camera was "beyond the turnstiles (ie on the elevator side of the turnstiles) located in the lobby" of American Media's offices at 4 New York Plaza.
No order was made about the costs of the proceedings.
Howard hit the headlines in November when The New Yorker alleged he was among an "army of spies" enlisted by Weinstein to uncover information about those accusing the movie mogul of sexual assault and harassment.
The former Channel Seven sport reporter told The New Yorker there was no conflict of interest between his 2016 email correspondence with Weinstein and his work for AMI.
"I had an obligation to protect AMI's interests by seeking out - but not publishing - truthful information about people who Mr Weinstein insisted were making false claims against him," he said.
"To the extent I provided 'off the record' information to Mr Weinstein about one of his accusers - at a time when Mr Weinstein was denying any harassment of any woman - it was information which I would never have allowed AMI to publish on the internet or in its magazines. I have always separated those two roles carefully and completely, and resisted Mr Weinstein's repeated efforts to have AMI titles publish favourable stories about him or negative articles about his accusers."
Howard was sacked by Seven in 2008 following controversy about the airing of AFL players' medical records.
He was dismissed a day after being cleared by a police investigation into how the records had been obtained.
Had it proceeded to a trial, Howard's case against Channel Nine would have explored legal issues about the circumstances in which a broadcaster can be restrained from airing footage obtained in circumstances in which the media outlet has committed an alleged trespass.
In 2001, the High Court considered related issues when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was taken to court by an abattoir, Lenah Game Meats, to stop it using footage obtained from inside its facility by an anonymous source.
The abattoir was unsuccessful in its bid for an injunction to stop the footage being aired.