Jackson orders Hobbit ban overturned

Peter Jackson has overturned a ban on a reporter covering The Hobbit. Photo/AP
Peter Jackson has overturned a ban on a reporter covering The Hobbit. Photo/AP

Director Sir Peter Jackson was "mortified" to hear that a journalist was blacklisted from covering The Hobbit premiere for writing too many negative stories about the movie.

Radio New Zealand reporter Cushla Norman had her pass to cover the film premiere reinstated this morning after being told by a publicist for Roadshow Film Distributors she had been cut.

The publicist said she had written too many negative stories on the film.

"[Sir] Peter and [his wife] Fran are both mortified," WingNut Films spokesman Matt Dravitzki told Radio New Zealand this morning.

"As I said, the filmmakers, the producers and the studio would never do this to any journalist or ask that credentials be revoked."

Radio NZ was told another journalist could attend the film but the public broadcaster said it would not be dictated to and refused to replace Norman at the premiere.

The decision was made this morning for her accreditation to be reinstated.

Dravitzki said it had not been good publicity for the film.

"We think it is an error and certainly a very regrettable one," he said.

"That's why we're taking steps to make sure this is remedied immediately."

Dravitzki said WingNut Films would investigate why the journalist had her accreditation withdrawn in the first place.

Radio New Zealand head of news Don Rood told Morning Report Wingnut's statements were encouraging.

Norman had been fair and balanced in her coverage of The Hobbit, he said.

"We're not here to serve publicity companies, we're here to serve the public of New Zealand."

Rood said Norman deserved to cover the film premiere and would not be replaced.

"Cushla is the reporter that was assigned to this story, she's done a good job on this story and why would I then seek to double the punishment by saying, 'No, it's someone else's story.

"No, Cushla is our reporter, she's done the hard work, she's done the research, she's got the background. She is our reporter that will be covering it."

Norman earlier this week covered allegations animals were mistreated during the filming of The Hobbit trilogy.

Read more:

Tolkien family sues Hobbit bosses.
Ian McKellen couldn't watch another actor playing Gandalf.
Wrangler denies trying to hurt The Hobbit with animal abuse allegations.
Hobbit producers reject animal abuse claims.
Stephen Colbert has a Hobbit cameo.

- Herald Online and APNZ

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