This week we have had the pleasure (or not) to sit back and watch an extremely controversial media event play out.
You all know what we are talking about; the filthy moment West Indies Cricketer Chris Gaye propositioned journalist Mel McLaughlin in what has now been labelled “the most jaw-dropping interview in cricket history”.
Ok, the last part might be a slight over exaggeration, but isn’t that the point? So we can jump up and down about sexism until our heels bleed?
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Personally, I believe the amount of media coverage on the interview has been absolutely necessary, and it’s about time too. Women don’t need to deal with this kind of behaviour anymore, we don’t live in the 1920s people.
But before I get all up on my high-horse, let’s talk a little about the incident and get to the bottom of the controversy.
After smashing 41 runs off 15 balls, Journalist Mel McLaughlin stood at the sidelines prepped are ready to ask Melbourne Renegardes cricketer Chris Gayle a few questions about the game on Monday night.
Here is what Chris Gayle said:
“I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well. That’s the reason why I’m here, just to see your eyes for the first time.
“Hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink later.
“Don’t blush, baby.”
McLaughlin, who appeared momentarily taken aback by the comment, replied: “I’m not blushing.”
Watch it here
The Epic Fail Response
Controversy would be an understatement with this one, with Gayle not only forced to make numerous public apologies but fined $10,000 as well.
For McLaughlin, well she handled herself like a true champ, repeatedly saying she just wants to move on and would rather talk about cricket.
On the other hand, journalists across the country have been writing opinion columns about the incident, publishing every feminist quote in the book and bashing the cricket player and his sleazy and sexist remarks.
Cricket broadcaster’s Ten Sport TV Twitter account had tweeted a quote from the interview with the hashtag ‘smooth’. It was later deleted and Ten’s head of sport, David Barham, told The Herald Sun he was “deeply offended” by the remarks.
“Unless things change in the next few days, it’s not happening. It was totally inappropriate behaviour. Mel’s a working journalist doing a job.”
Age reporter Fleta Page tweeted that she too had been hit on by Gayle, during an interview a few years earlier.
“It was a few years ago, I’d hijacked him on the West Indies team’s day off, so it came as no surprise he refused to be interviewed,” she said in an article published on The Age.
“To be honest it wasn’t really a surprise that he followed it up with a sleazy comment (I can’t remember what it was exactly but included getting a drink and chatting without a notepad and recorder), even if at the time it left me feeling awkward.
“He has a bit of a reputation as a “smooth talker” after all. But that doesn’t make it any better or more forgivable.”
Other female sport reporters have also joined in on the debate.
Angela Pippos, a former ABC reporter and presenter, described Gayle’s advances to McLaughlin as “infuriating” while Kelli Underwood, the first female to call AFL on television, said it was about respect and setting an example.
While Melinda Farrell, ESPN cricket journalist, said she felt for McLaughlin.
“The person I feel sorry for in all of this is Mel McLaughlin because she just shouldn’t have been put in that position. She was clearly uncomfortable and to have that happen on live television … She’s an absolute A-grade journalist and broadcaster and it’s just horrible to see her put in that position.”