A twerking dance troupe’s performance at the launch of the Australian navy’s newest ship has created a multi-layered furore after complaints it was too risque were followed up with criticism of the national broadcaster.

What began as initial criticism of the show itself turned into claims of inaccurate reporting and exploitation, with “deceptive editing” blamed for footage that appeared to show members of the military’s top brass watching the performance despite having not actually arrived yet.

Doll 101 Squadron had been invited to dance at an event to mark the commissioning of HMAS Supply – and the performance was shown by the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC).

Australian Governor General David Hurley. Pic: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Image: Editing made it appear that military top brass were present at the show, but they actually had not arrived yet. Pic: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Australian Defence Department found itself in hot water with claims the seven-woman troupe’s routine – which included twerking – was inappropriate for the occasion.

However, the group – who were dressed in black shorts, red crop tops, and berets – has now hit out at the coverage, saying it used “creepy” angles and “deceptive editing”.

It also contributed to them feeling “threatened” and “exploited” in the wake of intense media interest.

In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, they said: “The 101 Doll Squadron members have been under personal attack on all media platforms since the weekend and we now feel unsafe.

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“The media which purports to support women have 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 by the audience.”

The Sydney-based dance group have deleted their Facebook page and made their Instagram account private amid the controversy surrounding the performance.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Image: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the media coverage was ‘disrespectful’

The ABC report had also cut between shots showing the dancers and a crowd of dignitaries including the governor general David Hurley, the Queen’s representative in Australia.

Mr Hurley had not in fact arrived at the time of the routine, a spokesman for the Australian Defence Force said.

Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison entered the debate, saying he was disappointed over the “misreporting” that had misled people.

“I think that was disrespectful to the performers to suggest the governor general or others were in attendance,” he said at a news conference in Perth.

In a statement, the ABC apologised and said it had updated its footage to reflect the fact that the governor general and chief of navy were not in attendance for the dance routine.

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