A bizarre public slanging match has broken out between former Aussie TV favourite Susan Hannaford and Channel 7 reporter Matt Doran over whether Hannaford, who won hearts as Kitty on The Sullivans, is indeed a fraudster as Doran alleged.
Hannaford has threatened to sue two Australian media outlets (which she didn’t name), claiming she’d been set up and made to look like a fraudster. But Sunday Night reporter Matt Doran – who recently interviewed Hannaford for a damning report, presumably making his program one of the targets of her ire – isn’t having any of it, slamming Hannaford in a series of tweets as a liar.
Their war of words follows a series of eyebrow-raising stories alleging that Hannaford had ripped off tenants who rented out what she said was her a luxurious Beverly Hills mansion and wasn’t anywhere near as wealthy as she claimed to be.
New Idea magazine kicked off the interest in Hannaford’s activities with a story that claimed the 64-year-old was facing a law suit in the US, with the suit brought by a man who rented out her Beverly Hills home, only to find that it wasn’t the luxurious home that she claimed.
The former actress was then quizzed about her finances during a Sunday Night interview with Doran that aired six weeks ago on Channel 7. Speaking on the program, Hannaford claimed she arrived in the US in the mid-2000s with “zero” in the bank, but used her wits to “intelligently” raise money.
She claimed that prior to the 2008 financial crisis, she owned 22 properties in the US, worth “a quarter of a billion” dollars, but Sunday Night reporter Doran raised questions in his report about how “just much of [Hannaford’s] wealth and lifestyle is legal — or even real“.
Hannaford wasn’t taking that criticism lying down, and appeared on Channel 9’s A Current Affair on Monday night to refute the claims. The furious former actress said she was made to look like a fraudster by Sunday Night.
“I am extremely angry,” she told A Current Affair reporter Brady Halls. “To try to make a scandal that doesn’t exist is appalling.” She said she was determined to set the record straight, by embarking on a $100 million lawsuit against two Australian media outlets that had published allegations about her.
But Doran quickly hit back on Twitter, writing that the ACA interview made “conveniently no mention of the more than a dozen court cases against Susan and her many aliases? Including current cases alleging she’s ripped off tenants for many tens of thousands of dollars. But happy to blindly promote her fantastic impersonation of Doctor Evil?”
The Sunday Night reporter then had a jab at his Channel 9 rival, accusing Brady Halls of failing to ask any serious questions of Hannaford. “As a bare minimum you might’ve had the enterprise to use slightly different comments from Susan during that savage, probing interview,” Doran said of his fellow reporter.
Sunday Night, meanwhile, told Starts at 60 that it stood by its report “100 per cent”.