Reporter's Hobbit premiere ban overturned

NZ Newswire November 22, 2012, 9:19 am

The makers of The Hobbit films have restored a radio journalist's accreditation to attend next week's Wellington premiere, after she was initially blacklisted for filing too many "negative" stories about the production.

Radio New Zealand reporter Cushla Norman was told on Wednesday by Roadshow Film Distributors she could not attend the red carpet world premiere, but the broadcaster could send another reporter instead.

She was told the filmmakers were not happy that she was "doing too many negative stories".

But on Thursday, Matt Dravitzki, a spokesman for director Sir Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films, told the broadcaster that decision had been overturned.

Norman would be able to cover the event.

It was a "regrettable error" by the publicists, he said.

Sir Peter and his partner and script writer Fran Walsh were both mortified and the studio would never ask for any journalist's credentials to be revoked, Mr Dravitzki said.

"We think it's entirely counterintuitive to exclude anyone from attending the premiere. This is an event to be proud of."

It has been a less-than-ideal build-up for next week's premiere of the adaption of JRR Tolkien's famous book, with animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accusing the filmmakers of abusing animals during production and the Tolkien estate also suing the studios for $98 million, accusing them of profiting off "highly offensive" gambling merchandise based on the books.

Tourism's "100% Pure Middle-earth" campaign has also come under fire in the US as misrepresenting New Zealand's environmental credentials.

It was also reported last week that a survey by Waikato University indicated New Zealanders had mixed feelings about deal the government made with Warner Bros to ensure The Hobbit was made here, including changing labour laws and offering a 15 per cent tax rebate.

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