TripleM boss says Eddie McGuire’s comments ‘not acceptable’ but is not taking disciplinary action

The head of the TripleM network Mike Fitzpatrick has said he will not take disciplinary action against star Melbourne breakfast host Eddie McGuire after he made on-air comments about drowning The Age sports journalist Caroline Wilson.

EddiemThis morning TripleM breakfast host Eddie McGuire, who is also the president of Collingwood football club, gave a reluctant apology on-air after a furore over the remarks erupted over the weekend.

Among the comments broadcast last week at the Big Freeze fundraiser at the MCG were statements by McGuire that we would pay for Wilson to be dunked in cold water saying: “I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year featuring Caroline Wilson and I’ll put in 10 grand straight away, make it 20. And if she stays under, 50. What do you reckon guys?”

McGuire was about to go through the ice slide himself and brought in fellow TripleM host James Brayshaw and former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley, with the latter responding: “I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t [come up] … I’ll hold her under, Ed.”

Former CEO of Nine Entertainment Co McGuire also took aim at the award-winning AFL journalist, Wilson, describing her as “a black widow”.

“She just sucks you in and gets you and you start talking to her and then bang! She gets you,” he said.

The content boss of the radio network, Mike Fitzpatrick told Mumbrella in a statement this afternoon that he had spoken to staff about the remarks, noting they were “not acceptable”, but would not face disciplinary actions.

Fitzpatrick: I've spoken to our staff.

Fitzpatrick: I’ve spoken to our staff.

“I’ve reached out to all of our broadcasters across the country to remind them of our responsibility, that language of this nature is not acceptable and there is no context that makes it ok,” said Fitzpatrick.

“We’ve had discussion with those directly involved. Each has apologised for their remarks and acknowledged the importance of stamping out language that encourages or endorses violence against women.”

TripleM now faces the potential of an investigation from the media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The authority said this morning it had not yet formally started an investigation.

Sister Southern Cross Austereo station 2DayFM currently has a licence condition against it for decency, but this condition does not apply to Triple M Melbourne. That condition was imposed after shock jock Kyle Sandilands launched a tirade against News Corp entertainment journalist Alison Stephenson who wrote a critical review of his TV show. 

Wilson has also written a strongly worded opinion piece for her employer The Age in which she writes about her discomfort at being part of the story.

The AFL commentator noted that she had strong opinion but argued: “No journalist no commentator, male or female, should have to put up with personal attacks for doing so. McGuire avoided the issue at hand. He played the woman and engaged a couple of willing blokes only too happy to do his bidding.

“Knowing him, he is not going down without a fight. Violence against women is abhorrent, he keeps saying; even as a joke. Having said that he still took some time to back down about his comments directed at me which were supposedly humorous but in truth were laced with venom.”

She also took aim at his comments about her being ‘a black widow’ writing: “His musings last Monday extended to referring to someone asking legitimate questions of his long-standing tenure at Collingwood as ‘a black widow’. This sort of sexist nonsense has long been an acceptable part of his occasionally violent vernacular but I don’t accept that it’s jokey or banter.”

The ACMA codes of practice on the portrayal of women on commercial radio note that presenters should not “place undue emphasis on gender and resisting stereotyping… negative or inequitable sex-role portrayal refers to language attitudes or representations, which tend to associate particular roles, modes of behaviour, characteristics.”

In regards to the drowning remarks the Code also states:  “Do not broadcast material which condones or incites violence against women.” The guidelines add: “Ensure that reporting and ‘on-air’ discussions respect the dignity of women and are non-exploitive.”

This is not the first time McGuire has been in hot water with the TripleM host criticised in 2013 for comparing indigenous footballer Adam Goodes with King Kong, weeks after Goodes had been subjected to racial abuse during a match against Collingwood.


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