The advertising agency behind the disastrous Commonwealth Games closing ceremony has shared its "disappointment" at the reaction to the event, as Australian channel Seven host Johanna Griggs hits out at critics online.
US agency Jack Morton, which has offices in Sydney, was paid a whopping $46 million for its work on the Gold Coast, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The closing ceremony was run by its "Worldwide Public Events" team headed up by David Zowlker, who has previously led coverage of the Athens 2004 Olympics, and Manchester, 2002, Melbourne, 2006 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, according to Mumbrella.
Jack Morton's managing director, Helen Graney, said the company has worked alongside GOLDOC to develop "creative elements" of the opening and closing ceremonies.
"Having received such a positive response to the opening ceremony on the Gold Coast earlier this month, we share GOLDOC'S disappointment at the level of criticism targeted at specific aspects of last night's ceremony," she said.
It comes after the end to the Games was panned by viewers and Channel Seven host Johanna Griggs live on-air after the network copped criticism for not showing the athletes entering the stadium — including flag bearer Kurt Fearnley.
Griggs went into damage control more than an hour before the ceremony had even wrapped up, furiously tweeting that GOLDOC, the event's organising committee, was to blame.
"There was no arrival of the athletes as part of the show. A decision by the artistic creative team of the ceremonies. Not us," she wrote, an hour before the ceremony had even finished.
"They have actually minimised the value of any nation having a flag-bearer for closing. Athletes arrived in drugs [sic — dribs] & drabs with ... no mention or fuss being made of any flag bearers. So not Seven's fault," she added.
Griggs also took aim at claims the network would have been given a broadcast briefing well in advance and should have known what to expect. She released a lengthy statement on Twitter saying: "at no point does it mention there wouldn't be one single shot shown of athletes".
She refuted several claims made with regards to the closing ceremony and called the night a "farce" before thanking her co-host Basil Zempilas and Channel 7 for allowing her to speak her mind.
Griggs fired off another 20 tweets, including ones blaming the host broadcaster NEP, before her and her co-host Basil Zempilas were tasked with wrapping up the tedious broadcast mere seconds after the ceremony had finished.
Standing in front of an already empty stadium, Griggs and Zempilas wasted no time tearing strips off the two-and-a-half hour ceremony, labelling it "disappointing".
But Griggs said Zempilas' admission the ceremony hadn't "lived up to expectations" was too polite.
"I'm sorry, you're being way too polite," Griggs told her co-host. "People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flag bearer, Kurt Fearnley ... We can only show the pictures that are provided by the actual host broadcasters. They made the decision not to have athletes enter the stadium. I'm furious. Actually wrecking a tradition that is so important ... You want to see the athletes come in," she said.
Griggs' anger at host broadcaster NEP however was misplaced, with GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie admitting to Sunrise this morning that the "buck stops with us".
"You can have a blame game from now until eternity but the reality is, I'm chairman of the organising committee, the buck stops with us. I'm not interested in blaming anyone but us," Mr Beattie said.
"That's our fault ... that's my fault ... I apologise to you and anyone else," he added.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also hit out at the ceremony's organisers, today telling reporters those behind the debacle should "hang their head in shame".
"I'm just as disappointed as anyone else," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I've been talking to families that were there as well and Kate Jones (Commonwealth Games Minister) also shares that view. We wanted to stand there and celebrate our athletes and it didn't happen.
"Whoever was responsible for making that decision (not incorporating athletes march in to the televised ceremony) should hang their head in shame," she said.
NEP, the American broadcast company in charge of sending footage to every Commonwealth nation, referred blamers to a statement from the GOLDOC Chairman this morning, tweeting they were "just as disappointed in tonight's outcome" as the viewers.
Beattie accepted blame this morning admitting they "got it wrong" and the decision to not broadcast the athletes entering the stadium — including flag bearer Fearnley — was for their "welfare".
"We were concerned about the athletes' welfare," Beattie told Sunrise.
"When you've got thousands of athletes, the problem is, where do you put them? They've competed, they're exhausted. The last thing they want is to stand in a field for an hour waiting for the closing ceremony.
"But we made a mistake.
"That wasn't shared with viewers, that was clearly a stuff-up, if I get a chance I'll apologise to Kurt [Fearnley] this morning," he added.