News Station Apologizes After Showing Facebook Photo of Baby on TV and Calling Her Ugly

This screen shot of The Footy Show was sent to the parents by a sister who saw the show.
This screen shot of The Footy Show was sent to the parents by a sister who saw the show.

We can all agree babies are off-limits, right?

Aren’t they?

So what in the world were these sportscasters of The Footy Show in Australia thinking when they slapped a photo of an adorable baby on the screen and compared the little girl to rugby great (and co-anchor) Peter Stirling and called her ugly.


Okay, so maybe she does look a little like Stirling. A lot of babies look like old people. My little brother happened to bear a striking resemblance to Benny Hill for the first two years of his life and we thought he was adorable. So maaaaybe if they would’ve just commented on the uncanny resemblance they might’ve been okay. But to call a baby ugly? Oh yeah. And they may or may not have swiped the photo of the baby, Bella, off her mom’s Facebook page which, while not illegal, is kind of dirty.

Bella’s father, Michael Richmond, isn’t amused. He tells the Daily Telegraph, “I understand how Facebook works and that when you share photos they become public and there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “The fact is that somewhere, somehow, a producer has gotten a photo of my daughter and made the decision to put it on television. I know it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek but she’s just a baby. It’s not cool.”

I agree. So not cool.

Richmond’s sister saw the actual program and called the couple to tell them their daughter was being made fun of on television. Bella’s mom, Melanie, is especially hurt because it was a favorite photo of her daughter, taken last year on Mother’s Day. Now she feels only pain when she looks at the photo.

The original photo taken from Melanie's Facebook page.
The original photo taken from Melanie’s Facebook page.

“I put the photo on Facebook that day so proud of my first Mother’s Day…Somebody has taken a copy off our Facebook page and cropped Bella because you can see my hair in the background…You can’t take photos of kids playing sport or at childcare so how does my baby end up on TV without me knowing, and in a demeaning manner too?”

The Footy Show says they didn’t steal the photo from Facebook, claiming that a friend of the family sent it to the station, which I actually believe as I was a news producer for twelve years and would never publish a photo of a baby without a parent’s permission, even if it was uploaded to a public website… So I think the Richmonds have a Facebook friend who is praying to God the station doesn’t rat them out. But calling the child ugly on live television is just appalling. The Footy Show says it “never intended to cause hurt to them or their child and of course apologise if it did.”

If I were the producer at this station I would have the anchor who called the baby issue an on-air apology, clarify that the photo was sent to the station so they thought it was fair game and then move on.

What do you think? Is an apology enough? Do you think it serves the couple right for posting a public photo? What would you do if this happened to you?

Photo credits: The Daily Telegraph

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