I think the stunt pulled by “The Chasers War on Everything” yesterday in Sydney at the APEC summit was hilarious. Yes, it was risky and could have ended disastrously – I mean, you don’t want to go putting yourself in the line of fire of ever-alert snipers when you’re dressed as Osama bin Laden, especially when your objective is to get as close to the US President as you can, but the fact they managed to get a fake motorcade through TWO security checkpoints, flying the Canadian flag – when the Canadian contingent haven’t even landed in Australia yet – and got within 10 meters of George Bush’s hotel … well, that is risky, but very funny to the average Australian.
Call us irreverent – we are. Call us disrespectful – we’re only that when we feel someone doesn’t deserve our respect. I’m pretty sure they weren’t having a go at the Canadians, using their flag would have been simply a means to an end. I’m pretty sure, knowing the program, that they were intending to simply see how far they could get before someone stopped them. And they got pretty far … as every news service here has commented on.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the story from The Daily Telegraph: Osama ‘chased’ at APEC and one from the ABC (the network who produce the show): Chaser stunt raises questions about APEC security
Naturally, the police and security forces are furious. The media have found this just as funny as the general public (in most cases) and splashed the story all over the place, so showing up an obvious hole in the security net – especially the net around George Bush.
They got into the red zone, and then through two sets of gates/checkpoints (one of which included sniffer dogs), in a motorcade comprising of three black executive cars and two motorbikes, brandishing security passes that clearly said “Insecurity” – so obviously a joke, before someone realised something was wrong and pulled them over. Eleven of the team were arrested and have since been bailed to appear in court on October 4th.
But – I can tell you now, having worked on a comedy show for the Nine Network, that there is no way these guys would have been able to do this stunt without first putting it through their network’s legal department. Which, according to an article in the Herald Sun today, that’s exactly what they had done. The ABC knew about it, and approved it.
Here’s the catch – they thought they wouldn’t even make it through the first checkpoint … but they did. And not only the one, but two. The boys claim they hadn’t realised they’d got into the red zone until they were nearly at George Bush’s hotel. When they realised this, they turned around – still not having been stopped by the security forces, and were only officially stopped when Chas Licciardello got out of one of the cars, dressed as Osama bin Laden.
No wonder the police are furious.
There has been some condemnation from various sources. My household found it very funny – and, let’s face it, they were doing APEC a service – at least they know where the holes are in their security, and I’m sure they’ve been well and truly plugged up now – meaning that everyone attending will be secure in the knowledge that they are well guarded as a result. And really, we should be grateful that it was a bunch of comedians who managed to get through the cordon and not a bunch of a less-friendly kind of people.
As Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer said yesterday: “Whatever you think of the humour of The Chaser … they were clearly not going to harm anybody in a physical way. They presumably were, as is the nature of their show, aiming to humiliate a lot of well-known people.”
Which is exactly what they did.
Update: Here’s the story from “A Current Affair” – as I said – hilarious.
And, in the interests of fair and unbiased reporting, here’s the story from ABC news: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXYrIH-ZXhQ