Mon. Apr 15th, 2024
alert-–-fresh-bombshell-in-bruce-lehrmann-saga-as-ex-channel-seven-producer-taylor-auerbach-threatens-to-sue-him-over-comment-about-‘$3000-thai-masseuses’-–-with-embattled-ex-staffer-blindsidedAlert – Fresh bombshell in Bruce Lehrmann saga as ex-Channel Seven producer Taylor Auerbach threatens to sue HIM over comment about ‘$3000 Thai masseuses’ – with embattled ex-staffer blindsided

A former Channel Seven producer is threatening to sue Bruce Lehrmann for defamation over an alleged saga involving a night out and thousands of dollars worth of Thai massages.

A News Corp story last week claimed Taylor Auerbach used a Seven West credit card to book two $1000 Thai massages – one for him and one for Mr Lehrmann – in the early hours of November 26, 2022.

It was also reported that Mr Lehrmann stayed at Mr Auerbach’s home in Elizabeth Bay for some hours after the massage, and expenses amounting to a total of $2940 were charged to the corporate card.

The late-night meeting was said to have taken place during negotiations for Mr Lehrmann’s exclusive interviews on the network’s program, Spotlight, which aired in June and August last year.

It is understood Mr Auerbach used the corporate card without the knowledge of key Spotlight staff. Text messages later emerged showing a senior producer, Steve Jackson, allegedly guiding Mr Auerbach on how to reverse the transaction.

However, Mr Lehrmann denied Mr Auerbach’s version of events last week, telling media: ‘It’s an untrue and bizarre story from a disgruntled ex-Network Seven producer.’

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney's eastern suburbs during a sailing outing

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs during a sailing outing

Taylor Auerbach (pictured) stopped working for Channel Seven last year. He took a role with Sky News earlier this year

Taylor Auerbach (pictured) stopped working for Channel Seven last year. He took a role with Sky News earlier this year

‘Network Seven only ever covered reasonable travel for filming and accommodation,’ he said.

Mr Lehrmann acknowledged that he was in Sydney with Mr Auerbach and other Seven staffers that night, but denied using the services of Thai masseuses. 

Mr Auerbach has rejected Mr Lehrmann’s denial of the situation and sent him a concerns notice, which is the first step in defamation proceedings.

He claims denial could harm his reputation.

Daily Mail understands Mr Lehrmann had not received the notice as of lunchtime on Thursday because he was golfing, and learned about the situation via media reports.

Mr Auerbach did not want to comment on the situation when contacted by Daily Mail .

His solicitor Rebekah Giles told the Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Lehrmann’s denial was ‘false’.

‘The press statement is likely to devastate Mr Auerbach’s professional reputation,’ she said.

She said Mr Lehrmann’s statement carried the defamatory imputation that ‘Taylor Auerbach lied to the press about Bruce Lehrmann being bought a massage by a Seven Network employee’. 

Taylor Auerbach's solicitor is Rebekah Giles (pictured left, with barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC)

Taylor Auerbach’s solicitor is Rebekah Giles (pictured left, with barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC)

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured with Rob Porter at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney's eastern suburbs

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured with Rob Porter at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Mr Auerbach was employed by Network Seven until late 2023. He started working for Sky News earlier this year.

Ms Giles said her client’s employment with Sky was terminated on March 22 – the day after Mr Lehrmann’s public denial.

In the original News Corp article, Seven asked Mr Auerbach to pay back the money for the massages.

When the producer Mr Jackson found out the next day, he reportedly suggested Mr Auerbach ask the masseuse to reverse the charge and offer to pay cash, along with a $250 bonus for the trouble. 

Mr Jackson had reportedly texted Mr Auerbach with a Google translation in Thai for ‘I’ll pay you cash instead’.

The full amount of $2940 was reportedly paid back to Seven on November 29.

On Monday, Mr Auerbach held a bizarre press conference outside his Elizabeth Bay apartment, during which he rejected Mr Lehrmann’s statement.

He is seeking an apology from Mr Lehrmann, plus legal costs.

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured during a day out sailing in Sydney's eastern suburbs

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured during a day out sailing in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured walking down the pier with sailor, Rob Porter

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured walking down the pier with sailor, Rob Porter

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