The founder of Mamamia Mia Freedman and editor Jamila Rizvi have received “rape and death threats” on Twitter after Sunrise presenter David Koch attacked them this morning for representing him as a “dirty old man” after an online fashion segment of the show referred to co-host Samantha Armytage’s shoes as “stripper shoes”.
Yesterday the row, dubbed “Strippergate” by News.com.au, exploded over the segment where Koch comes on screen with a pole which Armytage wraps her leg around, with the Mail Online, operated in Australia in partnership with Nine Entertainment Co, posting a story headlined “Isn’t it too early for stripper jokes? Australia’s breakfast show Sunrise takes humour to a new low.”
The was followed up in an editorial by Mamamia editor Jamila Rizvi “Dear Kochie. It’s not okay to humiliate your colleague on television”, in which she says it was “sexist and demeaning” of Koch to present Armytage with the pole.
However, this morning both Koch and Armytage spent several minutes on Sunrise rebuking comments made in the piece, and accusing both Rizvi and Freedman of “sneakily” amending errors in the article, and not posting Koch’s response for more than four hours.
Now Freedman has taken to Twitter saying her and Rizvi have received threats on the social network following the response.
In this morning’s response Koch said he received a private message from Freedman who said deleting his comment was an “F-up” by a member of staff who had sought to protect Rizvi.
“So on the Mamamia website the comments are censored to support the view of the writers,” Koch said, while also taking aim at Freedman for sending a private message.
“Man up go public and say someone did delete my post and you do censor your website. If you’re a credible media outlet you need to play by the rules as well,” he said.
“It sort of sets up the whole older male grubbiness routine which is just pathetic and then it continues on to humiliate her and to make me out to be a dirty old man, it’s just pathetic.”
Koch said Rizvi used to be Kate Ellis’ press secretary and part of Kevin Rudd’s media unit adding “she is the classic political spin doctor, and you can just imagine her doing the dirt files on Opposition politicians”.
Claiming her approach to the story without calling Armytage for comment was, “such a political spin doctor type thing to do.”
Armytage told viewers: “At no point was I humiliated at all. I found it to be far more insulting to be labeled by a woman who doesn’t know me, who obviously doesn’t watch the show, who would describe me as a piece of eye-candy for my male host, which is utterly ridiculous. That she would feel sorry for me, for going along with a stupid fun joke.”
She added: “I was not embarrassed, my dignity is still completely intact. I think it was an insult to me, it was an insult to my family, to my father who has raised me to be a strong woman. I’m not a pushover, I’m perfectly capable of sticking up for myself.
“And I do not like this part of the sisterhood that insists on running down men to be a feminist or part of the sisterhood. I like the men I work with, I respect the men I work with and I won’t do it.”
Sunrise producer Michael Pell said in a statement to media: “It’s just a bit of fun. It certainly gave us all a good laugh. If any strippers have been offended by this video, we sincerely apologise.”
Sunrise shared the clip of Armytage and Koch’s response on their Facebook page.
Freedman declined to comment further to Mumbrella.
The stripper heels segment: