By news.com.au – UPDATE: It was reported on Monday evening Grant Hackett had phoned his alleged victim to apologise for his actions on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. The 35-year-old has pledged to donate a sum of money to a charity of the man’s choice.
‘I SERIOUSLY AND GENUINELY REGRET MY POOR BEHAVIOUR’
An “embarrassed” Grant Hackett has apologised for his behaviour on the domestic flight, during which he was alleged to have abused a fellow passenger.
“I seriously and genuinely regret my poor behaviour,” he said in a statement.
“I have stuffed up more than once and am working on these issues.
“It is embarrassing to hear and read the consequences of my actions. I apologise unreservedly to the gentleman on the flight. I am trying to make direct contact with him personally.
“I know I have to front the media and discuss my actions in a more appropriate and accountable way.
“I just have to sort a few things first so I can be as frank and open as I need to be. I apologise for the inconvenience.”
7 News showed vision — filmed by another passenger — of Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert helping Hackett off the flight.
‘NOTHING REALLY HAPPENED’
A PASSENGER on Hackett’s flight has defended the fallen star on radio on Monday afternoon.
Identified only as “Steve”, he claims he was sitting one row in front of Hackett on the other side of the aisle (next to Aussie tennis player Sam Groth), and was adamant the three-time Olympic gold medallist had done nothing wrong.
“Nothing really happened, that was the frustrating part I think,” he said on Kiis FM’s Hughesy and Kate.
“I didn’t see any of that (the alleged assault). I must have been on a different flight, that didn’t happen.
“I saw nothing. There was nothing happening — that’s the whole thing.”
Co-host Dave Hughes challenged Steve’s assertion that Hackett was completely blameless in the matter, reverencing the fact the alleged victim of Hackett’s actions has come forward and unequivocally stated that the swimmer “tweaked my nipple”.
“No, you can’t say, ‘Definitely not’ because he’s said it mate,” said Hughes.
Steve said the alleged victim and his partner were drinking white wine while watching 80s sitcom The Golden Girls.
FORMER swim star Grant Hackett is alleged to have “forcefully” groped a passenger and “tweaked” his nipple on an interstate flight after a dispute over a seat being reclined too far.
Hackett, 35, is in hiding on the Gold Coast after the incident yesterday that has plunged him into a fresh new controversy.
A passenger on the Virgin Australia flight from Adelaide to Melbourne told The Daily Telegraph the two-time Olympic gold medallist grabbed his chair and yanked it forwards after the passenger reclined it.
“Then he put his hand through and groped my chest and tweaked my nipple quite forcefully,” the shocked passenger said.
Hackett allegedly stroked his arm and said “it’s OK, it’s all right” but the passenger said he felt unsafe and violated.
One source called the incident “nasty” and claimed Hackett got out of his seat and threatened the passenger: “He was out of control.”
However, the passenger said he came forward to stop rumours starting about what happened. He denied the incident was nasty but said the incident had troubled him enough to make him worry about flying again.
A man reported to be Grant Hackett slumped in a wheelchair. Picture: Channel 7Source:Supplied
PERT: ‘PRETTY IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO WALK OFF THE FLIGHT’
AFL club Collingwood’s chief executive Gary Pert helped assist Hackett off the plane and walked him to a seat inside the airport terminal. Pert told the Herald Sun he saw Hackett on the plane tap the passenger in front of him and ask if he could put his seat up.
A flight attendant then asked Hackett to keep his hands to himself.
“I’ve heard all sort of bizarre versions of actually what occurred on the plane and a lot of it is completely blown out of all proportion,“ Pert told Triple M’s Hot Breakfast on Monday morning.
“Clearly Grant was having some issues on the flight. I’m sure he might have had a drink before he got on the flight.
“But he was sitting there quietly in his seat, wasn’t aggressive, wasn’t looking at causing any trouble. In fact a majority of the flight he was passed out asleep.
“I certainly didn’t see any (aggressive behaviour) during the flight. One of the passengers in front of him put their seat back and Grant appeared just to reach forward and touch him on the back because he wasn’t happy about the seat coming back. That was about the extent of it.
“I can’t talk on behalf of how the other passenger felt about that, but certainly there was no assault or major altercation.”
Seven News last night showed an image of what purported to show Hackett slumped in a wheelchair after the flight while police officers watched nearby.
“When the flight landed I could see that it would be pretty impossible for him to walk off the flight so I just advised the attendants that I knew Grant and knew that he needed some support so I helped him walk off the flight and when I got into the terminal and that’s when the Federal Police — obviously they’d been notified — they rolled up and said they’d take things from there,” Pert said.
In a statement yesterday, the Australian Federal Police confirmed a 35-year-old man was spoken to at Melbourne Airport. No charges were laid but inquiries were continuing.
The 2014 Crown Casino incident where Hackett used a singlet as shorts as he wandered around the foyer.Source:news.com.au
BRENDAN FEVOLA WEIGHS IN
Former AFL bad boy Brendan Fevola, a human headline in his playing days, said he could understand what Hackett was going through.
“He would be pretty depressed at the moment,” Fevola said on 101.9 Fox FM’s Fifi and Dave.
“When I’ve been in trouble before and then it comes out in the paper, you just lock yourself in the house. The phone rings, there’s cameramen outside your house and taking photos and you do think, ‘What have I done?’
“And at the end of the day it all comes down to alcohol.
Fevola added that he was offered to do the exact speaking engagement Hackett was in Adelaide for, but turned it down.
“I do feel a bit sorry for Grant … because he was speaking at the Adelaide-Sydney function for the Adelaide Crows and about a month ago they asked me to do it and I declined because I was playing footy.
“I get blamed for everything else so I’ll take the blame,” he joked.
HACKETT’S ROAD TO DESTRUCTION
The latest controversy comes after Hackett spent time in a US rehab clinic where he was treated for a sleeping pill addiction. He claimed he had lost his four-year-old son.
Photos of the incident showed Hackett looking lost with a singlet wrapped around his waist as a pair of shorts.
Before that there were two other high profile controversies. In 2011 he trashed the Melbourne apartment he shared with then wife Candice Alley, who was home with their twin sons.
As many as eight police cars were called to the luxury apartment after a distressed 000 was made to police.
Pictures emerged of the damage caused in the apartment — which included some of the items his wife most cherished like her piano, a dresser and framed photographs.
A bedroom door was also destroyed, as were some of the children’s’ toys were trashed.
The couple later said they were dealing with some “private issues”.
Months later he had an alcohol-fuelled night at Crown Casino during — and after — the Logie Awards in April 2012, where he was asked to leave a Channel 9 party and fell asleep in a stairwell.
At about 3am and the Olympian was approached by bouncers at a nightclub in the casino complex and told he should “call it a night”. Hackett is said to have fully co-operated with staff and promptly left, without an escort.
The following morning Channel 9’s Today aired footage of a sweaty Hackett at the party struggling to form a sentence. When asked by a reporter for his favourite song, Hackett stumbles: “I don’t know my favourite song ‘cos there’s are so many favourite songs. ‘Cos if I could name one I would.”
The following month he and Alley split and he was dumped from his ambassador role at the Alannah and Madeline Foundation which aims to protect children from violence.