Tim Ferguson, Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler apologise for ‘vile and obscene’ 1990s harassment campaign

The trio behind 1990s comedy trio The Doug Anthony All Stars have apologised to a News Corp journalist today for a campaign of bullying and harassment carried out by cast member Tim Ferguson during the group’s heyday.

In a story published on this morning, Candace Sutton described how she received a series of “vile and obscene” letters from Ferguson following her review of the ABC comedy show, The Big Gig for Fairfax’s Sun-Herald in March 1990.

Ferguson apologised for the series of ‘vile and obscene’ letters he sent a journalist in 1990

Sutton stated that over a period of several months Ferguson sent her a series of obscene drawings and letters that were signed off with insults including “love and breast cancer” and “love and leukemia”, and “cunnilingus”.

At the time Sutton was working for the Sydney Sun-Herald, she claims she reported Ferguson’s behaviour to Fairfax and ABC management, but the abuse continued.

Two of the Doug Anthony All Stars trio are still employed by the ABC with Paul McDermott hosting ABC TV’s Think Tank, billed by the broadcaster as ‘a quiz show with a difference’, while Richard Fidler hosts a daily radio interview program.

In 2016, the now-wheelchair-bound Ferguson discussed his struggle with multiple sclerosis on Fidler’s program.

In a statement released by the group’s management in response to Sutton’s story, the trio apologised for Ferguson’s actions saying: “Tim Ferguson, Paul McDermott and their former colleague Richard Fidler, express an unreserved apology to journalist Candace Sutton for behaviour towards her when they were performing together as the Doug Anthony Allstars that was both offensive and unprofessional.

“Tim, who was responsible for the letter and drawing sent in 1990, says he deeply regrets sending them in response to a television review written by Candace, and acknowledges the hurt and offence caused by his actions. He apologises unreservedly.

“Paul and Richard were only made aware of the letter and drawings after Tim had sent them, and they expressed their dismay and disgust to him at the time. It was an appalling and stupid thing to do.

“However both Richard and Paul acknowledge that, having been made aware of their existence, they both should have urged Tim to retract these infantile messages and apologise for their content. They’re sincerely sorry for their failure to do so at the time.”


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