Allyson Horn, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, February 9, 2012
The camera crew, from Sydney production company Cordell Jigsaw, was filming part of a documentary for ABC2.
With them was Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist and documentary host Joe Hildebrand.
Hildebrand says the crew was filming a segment for the documentary, to be titled Dumb, Drunk and Racist, near the Todd Riverwhen they were accosted by two Aboriginal women.
Police say the crew was filming near the dry river bed about 6.30pm when the women became abusive and started throwing rocks at them.
The crew fled to a nearby hotel and took refuge in a baggage storage room.
Police say the women followed them into the hotel.
Hotel staff say the women tried to break in to the baggage room using planks of wood.
Hildebrand says he did not know they were followed and that another scuffle broke out in the hotel lobby.
“We had no idea, we were blissfully unaware that anything was happening,” he said.
“We didn’t realise that we’d been followed to the hotel – we just got out of there.”
Tripod leg ‘torn off’
Hildebrand says a leg from a camera tripod was torn off.
Hotel staff allege a female receptionist was hit over the head with the tripod leg before the women turned their attention to the reception area.
They say computers, a printer, an EFTPOS machine and other equipment were damaged in the attack.
Police say the women also stole some beer from the hotel fridge and ran away.
Hotel manager Ron Tynne says he believes the film crew took footage of the Aboriginal people without their permission.
He says the camera crew should not have been filming people in the Todd River bed, a notorious local drinking area.
The hotel manager says two receptionists were attacked and one was taken to Alice Springs Hospital with head injuries.
The film crew left Alice Springs for Sydney this afternoon.
Cordell Jigsaw executive producer Nick Murray says it is unlikely the camera crew filmed the attackers.
“I am not even sure we have got these people on film, so if there is some suggestion we were filming these people and that’s why they got upset, that is a surprise to me,” he said.
“Our guys were filming the actual five of our participants (in the documentary) walking along the street.
“We were not filming the people in the Todd River.”
Mr Murray says the ferocity of the attack was surprising and some gear had been lost.
“I am trying to get a report on what’s missing and what we’ve been able to recover from the street,” he said.
“But one of our tripods was broken, one of the legs was broken off.
“It is a very strong piece of equipment.
“It was surprising that it could have been broken like that.”
Hotel staff will receive trauma counselling.
[Editor’s Note: Needless to say, “Dumb, Drunk and Racist” is supposed to be a film about whites, not aborigines.]