Veteran Australian entertainment journalist Peter Ford has controversially questioned aspects of apparent claims made by The Voice Australia contestants The Koi Boys about the Christchurch massacre, asking if editing may have created a misleading impression of events.
HEAR PETER FORD DISCUSS THE KOI BOYS CONTROVERSY ON RADIO 6PR
On Tuesday night's episode of the Channel 9 reality show, the New Zealand trio and singer Daniel Shaw took to the stage to perform The Beatles' Let It Be, dedicated to the victims of the mosque shootings.
The Koi Boys broke down after their rendition, with band member Dan saying: "You look at the lyrics and it’s a pretty dark place in the world in light of the things that happened back home in New Zealand.
"We were actually there when it [the shootings] happened."
The touching performance brought Voice coach Delta Goodrem to tears, but entertainment reporter Peter Ford took to social media, sensationally asking for verification about the band's whereabouts on the day of the massacre.
"Does anyone know where The Koi Boys were performing in Christchurch on the day of the mosque massacre? I’m having difficulty finding any record of them being there as described tonight. Perhaps a private gig?" he wrote in a tweet yesterday evening.
Hours later, Mr Ford went back on Twitter to retweet a message from The Voice's official account, saying:
"Perhaps it was editing but last night’s emotion packed moment by The Koi Boys was, at best, flawed. They were NOT in Christchurch about to go on stage & sing ‘What A Wonderful World’ when attacks happened as claimed. Producers & group need to clarify this as its look exploitative."
One user reprimanded Mr Ford for his words, writing: "You would want to be careful with this."
But he didn't stop there, tweeting an update earlier today.
"So quick update. [Channel] 9 statement says they were on a ship but denied disembarkation. Oddly no cruise ships were listed to be in Christchurch on that exact day. Still asking more questions."
Clarifying his words, Mr Ford added: "Well to be very clear I’m not suggesting the band members have done or said anything deceptive...but the editing process may have created a false impression."
Whether the band was just talking about being in New Zealand, or in local waters, at the time of the tragedy remains unclear. There is no suggestion the band were being deliberately deceptive about either their proximity to the incident, or about their obviously genuine feelings of distress over the atrocity.
Channel Nine issued the following statement:
'We have spoken to The Koi Boys, they were featured performers on a cruise ship that docked in Christchurch on 15th March 2019, the day of the terrorist shootings, they were unable to leave the ship for security reasons (nor were any passengers).
'That evening, having been distressed by the horrific event, they performed “What A Wonderful World” as part of their planned set, which was obviously a highly emotional experience for them and everyone grieving.'
WATCH the emotional performance here: