Billionaire Gerry Harvey slams Optus criticism as ‘very unfair’ after outage

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey has slammed what he says is “very unfair” criticism of telco Optus after millions of customers were impacted by a nationwide outage.

The ad aired on radio stations including 2GB, 6PR, and 3AW, where Mr Harvey defended Optus, stating it “could happen to any company”, and offered deals on Optus products.

“Hi, Gerry Harvey. Optus, Optus, kick them when they’re down! Really? I thought Australians were better than that,” Mr Harvey said in the ad airing on Nine-owned stations.

“For what it’s worth, Harvey Norman will support Optus. Yes, we will support Optus. If you think Optus is getting a raw deal, then you think like us. Need a new phone? Tell them Gerry sent you.”

The nation’s second largest telecommunications company has faced widespread criticism over the outage which caused chaos for about 14 hours, including to emergency infrastructure.

On Monday, the company revealed the outage had been caused by a routine software update gone wrong and admitted it had taken longer than it would have liked to find the cause.

Mr Harvey told Perth radio station 6PR he decided to release the ad as he felt the criticism of Optus was “very unfair” and calls for CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin to resign were “ridiculous”.

“You get a situation where you’re the CEO of a public company, and it could happen to any public company, the CEO doesn’t run the IT department,” he told host Gary Adshead.

Mr Harvey also admitted that is own company had lost money because of the outage, but criticised people seeking compensation every time an “accident” occurs.

Originally published as Billionaire Gerry Harvey slams Optus criticism as ‘very unfair’