Are we a nation too easily offended? These Aussie think so! 328



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First international Chris Gayle, now a popular Sunrise host. It seems several flirtatious attempts have been caught on camera lately, but are we too quick to shame the people involved? Aussie columnists have made some interesting points on this matter today.

When Melbourne Renegades cricketer Chris Gayle got struck out during a recent Big Bash tournament, he told sports presenter Mel McLaughlin he did so “just to see your eyes for the first time”.

“Hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink after”, Chris Gayle added. “Don’t blush baby”.

Despite McLaughlin later accepting his apology, Gayle was fined $10 000 by cricket bigwigs. The social media fallout which followed though, was much worse.

Gayle was shamed via Facebook, Twitter and in the media. New women came forward, accusing him of making other indecent comments, but unfortunately offered little evidence.

The cricketer only narrowly avoided being suspended from Twenty20 matches altogether. In some ways, the public blowup was worse than Gayle’s initial comments.

As columnist Dale Hughes points out, “we are living in the age of the social media lynch mob, where crime and punishment is dictated via the emotions of the masses”.

“A cricketer makes a clumsy advance on a reporter and then we are subject to an entire week’s worth of analysis”.

“The reporter in question? She just wants to move on, focusing on the next game she will cover – she said so herself”.

“Yet her acceptance of the apology does not matter. She is no longer relevant to the story, since the space has been filled by social commentators”.

Now another awkward television exchange was caught the media ire. Weekend Sunrise reporter Hamish McLachlan has been slammed for embracing Miss Universe Australia, Monika Radulovic.

In a live cross about the Magic Millions horse-racing event, Radulovic said: “Hamish here does not want to leave my side…” before McLachlan attempted to hug her.

The interaction was no doubt awkward, but was it sexist, harmful or discriminatory? As columnist Brendan O’Neil argues, “flirting has been rebranded as ‘unwanted sexual advance'”.

“It’s being pathologised, treated as a foul expression of ‘male entitlement’ in relation to women”.

In relation to outraged people on social media, O’Neil adds: “A new expert class has taken it on itself to police everything we do, from our chatter to our come-ons”.

Indeed, in a nation where we are quick to judge, Starts At Sixty wants to know where readers stand.

Are these candid on-screen moments just harmless fun? Or do these flirtations highlight something more sinister? Is Australia a sexist country, or just a nanny-state?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Flirting is subtle and fun. It is not done in inappropriate situations. Most of what men have taken as flirting in the past has been unwanted sexual advances. Women have not had the power or confidence to talk about it before. I remember as a young teacher being pulled on to the lap of a supervisor so he could write a positive report for me. Not flirting, abuse.

    3 REPLY
    • Ellie that is sleazy. Definitely not flirting. In fact it was sexual harassment. A nasty experience for you.

    • Ellie familiarity breeds contempt. Flirting is often the beginning of the end of someone’s marriage. Flirting is often done deliberately in front of work colleagues, and best friends, to make it appear benign. It’s a ruse. Never trust anyone in group who flirts. Call them on it in the presence of the group. Watch it stop!

  2. She was doing her job, he wasn’t taking her seriously. If he wanted to ask her out he should have done it after the interview

  3. Australia has so little real news that we have to make issues out of minor incidents

    16 REPLY
    • I don’t agree, we need talk about this. Men need to understand respect is needed

      1 REPLY
      • And so do women – it is a two way street – we can’t object and then objectify – e.g. photos of Chris Hemsworth shirtless. It used to be that if you didn’t like something you spoke up – or avoided those people. They soon got the idea. There are those who don’t comply and then further measures should be taken. How is it all the women on TV doing these interviews are young and very attractive? The same criteria are not generally used as the benchmark for men on TV.

    • that is your prerogative Michel but women and men have been flirting since humanity came out of the tree’s. I just don’t find it newsworthy at is the stuff that shock jocks make a living off

    • 10 grand is nothing to this guy, he has got hundreds of thousands of $ of free publicity out of this. It is good for the reporter it got her face on every news channel and he doesn’t care, he never raped her , he just chatted her up

    • I agree that the media likes to milk the trivial down to the last drop. It’s a non news event. Besides a lot of our journalists are lazy and lack investigative skills.

    • Flirting. I did that in Fiji and was kissed by spme gorgeous Polynesian dancers. They loved it. I certainly loved it. Yoing and ols flirted. Guess I was politically wrong. Libbi is right. We gave been flirting sincethe beginning of time. Adam and Eve did it. When you go to a bar and someone smiles at you or asks to buy you a drink, they for the mist part are flirting. There is a difference and although its sometimes hard to tell, what did you think he was going to do to her on national TV? She was interviewing him, he was flirting and she looked to me that she was a little embarrassed but not unhappy about it. I bet shes been flirted with lots if times. I think we gave become a nation if wanting things to be wrong. I am the first to defend women. My furst husband flirted outrageously wirh me when I first met him. He was just flirting. My last husband’s idea of flirting is com8ng on ti woman by making lewd comments and brushing up against them. That’s not flirting. This is when teaching respwct comes in and dont tell me that most young people dont flirt. Nor all who flirt have ulterior motives.

      1 REPLY
      • Many people have commented that Chris Gale was just harmlessly flirting and this is probably true however if we remember that Mel McLaughlan was doing her job and we are happy to accept this situation then we have to be happy about our young daughters receiving similar attention when they are innocently doing their job and receive similar attention from someone in a position of power. It’s all about what we are prepared to accept as a society.

    • The guy on 7 had his arms around her. Not a good idea, a bit of self control would be nice.

      1 REPLY
      • Hands off, contact can be classed as assault more if you do something like that on national TV now as to Chris Gayle he should know better but then again I guess he was not using his brain like so many sports people.

    • Fran Spears Ha ha ha. Jeesuss I said drink the kava not make the natives restless.Pleased your Christmas worked out so well.

    • Channel 10 has a gold mine in the form of BBL and acted swiftly to protect it’s baby. It anticipated the public reaction to Gayle’s remarks and in reacting made a mountain out of a molehill. The network had already been copping flack for the way it had downgraded the female reporter from the main commentary team to “boundary rider.”Knowing it has a winner with BBL in the female demographic it rushed to cover itself.

  4. My ex flirted with other women openly in front of me. At first I just ignored it as I thought it’s just a “culture” generally accepted by the society. Then something terribly happened. It’s a shame there was no FB at that time I could have asked your opinion about it.

  5. For goodness sake what bunch of wowsers have people become. Get a life too many other things in this world worthy of concern. To much of he said she said , have a laugh instead one day men will be scared to open their mouths!!!!!

    14 REPLY
    • Well if it ever gets to that, which I doubt it will and I would not like it to, then will it be any worse than women being afraid to voice an opinon, wear what they choose, walk through certain areas at night? Are you saying it’s ok for woman to have to be hyper vigilant in so many situations and be shamed if they voice their concerns, but heaven forbid we ask men to think before they open their mouths or lay hands on our bodies.

    • Robyn flirting is light banter. Sleazy innuendo is something else again. Unwanted touching is also wrong.

    • Yes Nita I understand the definition of flirting. I also understand that sometimes what some bloke calls light banter is in fact sleazy or controlling. Like many women I’ve been situations when a man has come over to my table and engaged in light banter, then heavier banter and when I’ve politely asked him to stop or leave he has become viscious and aggressive calling me names because his ‘light banter’ was not being reciprocated. I tend to think flirting is a consensual thing.

    • Jan Johannessen. I smile when I see the “get a life” comment. What you mean is get MY life. Have my values, my sense of humour or shame, as yours are wrong and mine is right.

    • The comments I made refer to a news item that is still being discussed on media as though it is a big news item when 120+ houses and a whole town has been wiped out, children in Syria are starving to death because food rations are being sold on the black market. There are far more important issues than a one liner from a no brainer.!!!!!

    • Philippa Doran or explain you are not comfortable and ask him to desist. Either is acceptable surely?

  6. It’s people like Chris that give our sports men and women a bad name, it was an inappropriate time for him to make that comment on national television which embarrassed this young women. I think a $10,000 fine will do nothing to stop this type of behavior, when they are worth millions.

    11 REPLY
    • Trish he got hundreds of thousands of $ of free publicity all around the world for his sport and himself. he never raped her

    • In my opinion David it is never ok to belittle or deliberately embarrass women/ men for any reason, he would have had the opportunity to ask her in a manner that would not have embarrassed her on national TV.

    • am not critisizing you hun , I am just trying to point out there may be another aganda here, look at the free publicity they all got

    • Yes David I agree with that, however the kids of today see that on TV and assume it’ acceptable behavior then go out with their friends for the night and repeat that behavior which may lead to violence.

    • I don’t recall her being embarrassed. Another (male) commentator was the one who called it . Chris Gayle is an egotist but I didn’t think it worthy of all the fuss

    • Georgina they actually interviewed her and she said it embarrassed her and all she was doing was her job,she did accept his apology.

    • She accepted his apology so what’s all the fuss about can’t we just drop it and get onto more important topics of which there are plenty here at the moment!!

    • He didn’t touch that reporter Hamish actually put his arms around this reporter will he get the same rest net gayle got I guess not he not well known hope he get th sacked this was a worse case that gayles he never laid a hand on her where Hamish did

    • Hamish doesn’t care as far as he is concerned he is allowed to do that as he is a celebrity and he can do whatever he wants a get away with it, he will say he was only joking. Like hell he was. Sack him

    • He shouldn’t have been fined or had to apologise for complimenting her eyes and asking her out for a drink and if she was embarrassed then she shouldn’t be she should have been flattered and joked back with him and left it at that… Maybe Noula the weather girl should have been interviewing him as she would have joked back with him and nobody would have complained at all…

  7. Flirting is absolutely inappropriate and demeaning when it happens professionally in a workplace…. And an interview situation is a ‘workplace’ for both parties!

    5 REPLY
  8. With respect to the Gayle incident; I believe if he had apologized the moment her saw she felt awkward, then it wouldn’t be such an issue. My look at the whole issue is, would their be the same public outrage if the tables were turned. What would the comments be if a woman did the same identical incidents to a man.

  9. A storm in a teacup. Such situations should be dealt with in a humorous way. They are meant to be complimentary. There is a vast difference between flirting and sleazy innuendo.

  10. Aren’t there more serious things to get aerated about, such as fathers murdering their children and spousal and child abuse.

    2 REPLY
    • And sometimes these things you mention stem from a society where men feel it’s ok to control women and children by humilitating them and laying hands on them without permission to do so.

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