The ABC has apologised after a Sydney dance troupe labelled the national broadcaster's editing of their HMAS Supply launch performance as "very creepy".
The 101 Doll Squadron dance team made headlines after a clip of the routine, during which they had appeared to twerk in front of high-level officials – including the governor general, the Australian Defence Force chief and the Navy chief, raised eyebrows.
In a statement to News.com.au, the members said such guests were not there during the dance performance and took aim at the ABC for making them feel "threatened and exploited".
“The 101 Doll Squadron members have been under personal attack on all media platforms since the weekend and we now feel unsafe," the statement read.
“The media which purports to support women has been the most virulent.
“We are very disappointed at the ABC’s deceptive editing of their video piece which cut to guests and dignitaries who were not in attendance and shooting from angles which could not be seen but the audience.
“We found this very creepy and reflects more on the ABC’s camera operator and their need to sexualise these women and their dance piece for their own gratification."
Members said they were excited to perform and had choreographed Indigenous elements to represent different blessings.
The Australian Defence Force confirmed its chief Angus Campbell and Governor-General David Hurley were not in the audience at the time, despite what footage suggests.
The ABC has since issued an apology in relation to the footage, which gained traction on social media.
"ABC News’ original social media video about the Royal Australian Navy’s launch event for HMAS Supply on the weekend featured a performance by dance group 101 Doll Squadron that included cut-away shots showing Governor-General David Hurley, the Chief of Navy and the Chief of Defence observing the performance," a spokesperson said in a statement.
"This was incorrect. While the Chief of Defence was present, the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy in fact arrived after the performance.
"Our reporting team initially believed they were present both because they were shown in footage of the event and because a Government MP had said that they were present.
"The video should not have been edited in that way and the ABC apologises to the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy, and to viewers, for this error."
The ABC says it has amended its reporting to reflect these changes.
Scott Morrison said dance was 'misreported'
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the prime minister was asked about the dance troupe's response.
“I am disappointed that this event was so misreported. I think that was disrespectful to the performers to suggest that the governor general or others were in attendance in that way," Scott Morrison said.
He said the ADF would look into "these matters" and he was going to "leave them that to them".
“It is disappointing that Australians were so misled on that issue,” he said before saying ABC was "wrong".
He declined to say if he thought the dance was inappropriate.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org