Chris Smith takes another brutal hit on Ray Hadley over Covid panic with Coral Princess
Firebrand radio host Chris Smith – who replaces Ben Fordham on his 2GB breakfast show – has threatened legal action against Ray Hadley as the couple go on air following a Covid outbreak on a cruise ship cruising has reached a new level.
Smith and Hadley have been back and forth since Wednesday morning when Smith said we ‘shouldn’t panic’ over the discovery of new Covid cases on the Coral Princess cruise ship in Sydney – comments that were branded by Hadley as ‘stupid’.
On Friday morning, Smith further stepped up his attack on his fellow 2GB host, telling listeners, “I won’t be bullied even by lifelong bullies. I love a good rumble, look forward to more disagreements, and look forward to defending myself every time.
Smith then went on to say he hired two defamation lawyers after Hadley said on-air that network anchors “could have deals” with cruise ships.
Chris Smith says ‘bedwetting chiefs’ have ’embarrassed’ themselves with their remarks about Covid infections aboard the Coral Princess cruise and said he would seek legal advice
Hadley said on Wednesday he was ’embarrassed’ to be on the same network as Smith after Ben Fordham’s replacement host said people shouldn’t panic about Covid cases aboard the ship. Coral Princess cruise
“Anyone who suggests I did and peddles suspicion better be prepared to defend themselves in court, I know I can,” Smith said.
“I’ve actually hired two media defo (defamation) lawyers and will be working very closely on that on Monday.
“Don’t listen to anyone in this place trying to imply that I had an official affiliation with a cruise line that impacts my opinion, that’s rubbish, that’s muckraking.
‘I have no connection, none, why the hell would I?
It’s an unpleasant thing to suggest.
Hadley first slammed Smith on Wednesday, saying he was “embarrassed to be on the same network” as him over the “senseless” comments he made about the Covid-infected cruise ship.
Smith hit back on Thursday saying the situation needed to be put into perspective – it was then that Hadley said that while the network accepts ads from the cruise industry, it does not read ads for them and did not go on cruises – but others and the network did and may have a relationship with them.
That prompted another spray from Smith on Friday morning.
“Those who beat this should be ashamed…to peddle fear in this context is repugnant and shameful,” he said.
He said the Coral Princess should not be equated with the Ruby Princess – the Covid-riddled cruise ship that helped bring the first wave of Covid to Sydney in March 2020 – and said ‘the main enuretics… terribly embarrassed’.
Smith hit back at suggestions that he made his comments about the cruise ship based on ties to the company involved. “Anyone who suggests I have and peddles suspicion better be prepared to defend themselves in court, I know I can”
“Those who have chosen to follow a twisted path and hurt me personally have terrible jaws of glass and they have been dealt terrible bashing on various media platforms, which is saying a lot,” Smith said.
On Wednesday morning, Smith said Australians needn’t worry about the Coral Princess, which docked in Sydney on Wednesday.
He said passengers ‘knew what they were walking in’ on the ‘damn cruise ship’ – with more than 100 staff and passengers forced to stay on the boat until they returned a negative test.
“We are in a different field, it is very different. We now have defenses against the virus and it’s not like following the Ruby Princess,” Smith said.
“I would say we shouldn’t panic… We have to be realistic about it, put it into context. Let’s not get excited.
“Put it into perspective: there are only 118 positive cases on the Coral Princess.”
In response, Hadley attacked his colleague, saying he was “almost embarrassed” to be on the same broadcast network.
Hadley Wednesday: “I’m sorry but the kind of nonsense I heard on the network this morning was just stupid and I’m almost embarrassed to be on the same broadcast network as this guy”
Without naming him, Hadley said: “One of my colleagues this morning was saying nothing to do here, everything is wonderful, well, he is a stupid person in my opinion in relation to the virus.
‘I’m sorry but the kind of nonsense I heard on the network this morning was just stupid and I’m almost embarrassed to be on the same broadcast network as this guy, but anyway it’s another story that I will deal with in private.’
Following Hadley’s comments on Wednesday, Smith didn’t back down, saying he would take the advice of medical experts.
“I stand by what I said,” the broadcaster told Daily Mail Australia.
“The cruise line let these passengers down with sloppy biosecurity measures.
The Coral Princess passengers were seen leaving the cruise ship after disembarking at Circular Quay early Wednesday morning
“But with 4.7% of those on board infected and 100% of them fully vaccinated, it has nothing to do with the Ruby Princess case.
“As the Queensland Minister of Health said, ‘Covid is all around us’. I’ll take advice from the epidemiologists, thanks.
The outbreak has forced Princess Cruises to offer refunds to those booked on its next 12-day voyage before it departs Brisbane for Sydney on Monday.
A spokesperson for Princess Cruises said on Tuesday that the crew who tested positive in a recent comprehensive screening were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
The contagion on the ship – which is a sister ship to the Ruby Princess which has been linked to 28 deaths after an onboard outbreak in 2020 – is the first for the local cruise industry since it resumed travel after the pandemic .
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said protocols were in place on the ship before the outbreak.
The ship cruised through Queensland on Sunday before heading to NSW, where it is currently moored in Sydney
“The virus is everywhere and there is no escaping it,” Ms D’Ath said earlier this week.
“They will be testing staff more frequently at this time and also encouraging any passengers with any symptoms to come forward and get tested and they will also be required to self-isolate.”
Princess Cruises said it is “doing everything possible” to ensure the safety of guests and crew.
“We adhere to comprehensive protocols which have been agreed in conjunction with federal and state authorities and are confident that they are working effectively,” a spokesperson told the Australian Associated Press.
Princess Cruises said they were ‘doing everything possible’ to ensure the safety of guests and crew (pictured, the cruise ship docked at Sydney’s Circular Quay)