Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright’s week from hell has gone from bad to worse as the fallout from charges in relation to the chopper crash that killed one of his closest mates continues.
The high profile crocodile wrangler, 43, will reappear in a Darwin court in January after he was charged with seven serious criminal offences related to the crash that tragically claimed the life of co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson nine months ago.
Wright was dealt another major blow on Thursday when he lost his first corporate sponsor as a result of the charges, with a popular beer company suspending its relationship with the star.
He had appeared in several commercials for Great Northern in the last six years, often alongside his late mate and co-star Wilson.
Wright won’t appear in further commercials or promotions for the beer brand until his matter has been finalised in the court.
Great Northern has suspended its partnership with Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright (pictured promoting the beer with wife Kaia)
Late mate and co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) appeared in several Great Northern ads alongside Matt Wright before he was killed in a chopper crash in February
‘Great Northern is pausing its relationship with Matt, pending the outcome of NT legal proceedings,’ a spokesperson told The Australian.
The news has sparked speculation about the future of Wright’s commercial partnerships with other sponsors, including Ariat, G-Shock, Yokohama Tyres and Otis Eyewear.
Ariat refused to confirm whether its partnership will continue and has reportedly deleted a trailer for Wright’s Wild Territory from its Facebook page posted in April.
‘We do not have any comment while the police investigation is taking place,’ a spokeswoman for the clothing and footwear company said.
G-Shock continues to promote Wright as an ambassador on its website.
‘There’s an undeniable fit between the ethos of G-Shock and Matt Wright, who is the embodiment of Absolute Toughness,’ it states.
‘Having been the everyday companion of Matt Wright and his team for many years, G-Shock has been key to providing the unmatched power and full-on functionality needed to take on the wild.’
Wright is also an ambassador for Tourism Australia, which said it is ‘monitoring the situation’ and unable to comment further as the matter currently before the courts.
Wright regularly promotes his corporate partners on social media and tags them in posts.
He’s represented by The Fordham Company, which hails its star client as a ‘high-flying success story’.
‘The daredevil helicopter pilot and wildlife re-locator projected his skills to a global TV audience in over 130 countries as the star of National Geographic’s acclaimed series Outback Wrangler, and most recently Netflix smash, Wild Croc Territory,’ its website states.
Matt Wright has a series of corporate partnership with well known brands such as Ariat, G-Shock, Yokohama Tyres and Otis Eyewear. Pictured is a recent post on Wright’s Instagram promoting Yokohama Tyres
G-Shock continues to promote Matt Wright as an ambassador on its website. Pictured is a post from Wright’s Instagram promoting the watch brand
Matt Wright’s week from hell has gone from bad to worse after major sponsor Great Northern put their relationship on ‘pause’
Wright has been granted bail on strict conditions – including that he does not contact a list of 50 people.
Dressed in jeans and a blue shirt, Wright walked from NT Local Court in Darwin on Wednesday after being told he will have to pay $20,000 and an arrest warrant will be issued if he does not front up for his next hearing.
Among the list of people he has been ordered to stay away from are the wife and father of helicopter crash victim Wilson, and the injured chopper pilot Sebastian Robinson.
Others on the list include two other men charged over the crash – helicopter pilot Michael Burbidge and former police officer Neil Mellon.
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright at Darwin Local Court on Wednesday morning
Matt Wright (pictured with wife Kaia) will return to court in Darwin on January 25, 2023
He’s been ordered not to contact Danielle Wilson, the wife of his co-star Chris Wilson who was killed in the helicopter crash (pictured together)
He also cannot contact his former Wild Croc Territory castmate Jock Purcell or Darwin pub owner and crocodile farm operator Mick Burns, neither of whom are charged.
If he does contact anyone on the extensive list he will have to forfeit a $20,000 assurance.
He’s also been given permission to reside in Queensland, where he recently relocated with his wife and newborn daughter to the Gold Coast.
The chopper pilot injured in the crash Seb Robinson (pictured) also cannot be contacted by Wright
His former Wild Croc Territory castmate Jock Purcell is also on the list (pictured)
Former senior cop Neil Mellon (pictured) is also one of 50 people Wright can’t contact
Wright was without the burly bodyguards who sparked a scuffle with a cameramen when he arrived at Darwin Airport on Tuesday.
His arrival in the courtroom coincided with someone’s mobile phone suddenly going off with an alarming siren alert, sparking much confusion and laughter.
Wright sat in the courtroom next to a member of his legal team, with his hands on his knees, waiting for his matter to be mentioned.
He stared intently at the media while the judge reviewed his bail after the director of public prosecutions asked for six strict bail conditions.
Bail was granted until January 25, 2023.
Wright is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, destroying evidence, fabricating evidence, unlawfully entering a building, unlawfully entering a dwelling, making a false declaration and interfering with witnesses in a criminal investigation or court process by making threats/reprisals.
The reality TV star ‘strenuously’ denies the charges and his lawyer gave a statement on his behalf after the hearing on Wednesday.
‘Matt Wright strenuously denied these charges,’ said his lawyer David Newey.
‘Regulatory investigations have found no defect in the helicopter. Matt requests that the media respects his privacy and Wilson’s, and his wife.
‘Matt is naturally disappointed that the charges have been laid.’
A spokesman for Wright had earlier added: ‘What happened was a tragic accident that took the life of a close mate.
‘His immediate concern following the accident was the condition of the two team members on board at the time.
‘The next priority was ensuring the other helicopters and team members at the site weren’t at risk and that the location was safe.
‘Matt will not be making any further statement, but he will be vigorously defending the charges.’
The 43-year-old flew from Sydney to Darwin on Tuesday to present himself to Northern Territory Police after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The warrant was issued days after Wright’s wife Kaia welcomed the birth of their second child, a daughter Dusty Faith on November 18.
Matt Wright, 43, (right) flew from Sydney to Darwin on Tuesday morning to present himself to Northern Territory Police after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Matt Wright’s arrival at Darwin Airport sparked hectic scenes as his minders clashed with media
Matt Wright was flanked by bodyguards at the airport who barged past media while shouting and throwing their hands at flashing camera lenses
Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson died when the chopper he was travelling in (pictured) crashed at Arnhem Land. A second chopper carrying three men, including Wright immediately flew to the scene
Mr Wilson died when a chopper he was travelling in crashed at Arnhem Land. A second chopper carrying three men, including Wright immediately flew to the scene.
It’s alleged the trio interfered with evidence at the crash site in an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Wright has since strenuously denied any wrongdoing over what he described as a tragic accident.
Mr Wilson was collecting crocodile eggs in a remote area of west Arnhem Land when the Robinson R44 helicopter he was hanging 30 metres below collided with trees and the ground in west Arnhem Land.
His body was found 40m from the main wreckage at the King River crash site, a preliminary Air Transport Safety Bureau report revealed in April.
The father of two was attached to a line using a harness so he could harvest eggs from crocodile nests in swampy areas while the helicopter hovered above.
Pilot Sebastian Robinson was seriously injured in the crash and is still recovering from spinal injuries.
Wright became a household name more than a decade ago as the star of National Geographic Channel series Outback Wrangler, which has since been aired in almost 100 countries.
His new series Wild Croc Territory aired on Channel Nine earlier this year and has since been screened on Netflix with a second series planned for 2023.
Outback Wrangler is a hit adventure television series filmed in remote Top End locations that airs in more than 90 countries. Mr Wilson (centre) was one of three cast members along with Mr Wright (right) and Jono Brown (left)