All Dogs Go to Seven.

This article was originally published on TheVine on 9th July, 2012.

As Australia’s Got Talent nears its grand final, I find myself wondering why the hell the scandalous Kyle Sandilands is still hosting the family show.

You’d have to be oblivious to the Aussie media scene for the past few years not to remember the lie detector-sexual assault incident, the Magda Szubanski-concentration camp comments and the on-air berating of a journalist for her appearance after she expressed concern over the integrity of Sandilands’ and Jackie O’s radio show.

Despite this, Channel Seven still seems to deem him a valuable talent and, perhaps because of this, a host that draws in the ratings. I can understand his presence on a show like Ten’s Can of Worms or The Footy Show on Nine, which aim to shock, but what does Sandilands really bring to the judging panel on a talent show that airs in the kiddie timeslot of 7:30pm? The straight-talking, older white male talent show host trope in the vein of Simon Cowell and Ian “Dicko” Dickson is a tired one. Sandilands may not be causing any trouble at the moment, but you can bet another controversy is right around the corner…  

But Sandilands’ prominence is by no means a standalone occurrence in Seven’s lineup: After it was revealed that former NRL player Matthew Johns was involved in group sex with his fellow Cronulla Sharks teammates and a teenager whose consent was questionable at best, he received his own Channel Seven footy program, the creatively titled Matty Johns Show. And, staying with sportsmen, what about the Ben Cousins doco, Such is Life, which at once tragically and glamorously profiled his life as an addict? What about former Home & Away actor, Lincoln Lewis, whose sex tape with a co-star went public the same day he was announced as a contestant on the dancing show in 2009? Convenient, hey? Did you know fellow H&A alum Dan Ewing was charged with assault against his fiancé at the end of 2011, the same year he was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, a show that loves its bad boys? Speaking of assault, it was only after Matthew Newton beat girlfriend Rachael Taylor in a Rome hotel room in 2010 that he was axed as host of—you guessed it, another family-geared talent show—The X-Factor. I suppose his history of trashing hotel rooms and violence with previous intimate partner Brooke Satchwell was written off as a onetime thing. Remember Axle Whitehead’s public act of indecency at the 2006 ARIA’s was all but forgotten when he moved to Summer Bay and received a gig as host of the network’s World’s Strictest Parents in 2009. And who could forget Brendan Fevola’s illustrious career of AFL tradeoffs, drug- and alcohol-fuelled benders, gambling problems, infidelity, inappropriate picture-taking of Lara Bingle and, just last week, his grammatically-incorrect Twitter tirade against a country footy umpire? Apparently, Channel Seven: Fev was signed up for this years’ season of DWTS as its lovable larrikin.

Television commentator Andrew Mercado put it best two years ago in the wake of the Newton incident when he wrote:

“… [T]he station is chock a block full of bad boys on big pay packets who are being rewarded for their unsavourity [sic] indiscretions with higher profile jobs during the family hour… So let me get this straight—gang bangers, bullies and bashers are in but closeted gay men (like NSW Transport Minister David Campbell) are to be outed on the 6pm News.”

But why? It’s not like any of the abovementioned men—bar perhaps Sandilands, who the general public pretty much abhor—are huge drawcards for the station like Charlie Sheen was for CBS (and, by extension, Channel Nine). Johns is but a blip on the radar of sports programming, Newton and Cousins have descended into the cycle of mental illness, and I challenge any non-H&A fan to identify Ewing by name.

A quick look at the Seven corporate website indicates the male chauvinist pig syndrome transfers from in front of the camera to behind it, with an all-male board of directors and management team. While I’m in no way insinuating that the male bosses at Seven get up to the same kind of extra-curriculars their talent does, could it be a contributing factor to the swept-under-the-rug mentality the commercial channels seem to subscribe to?

If so, could, at the very least, a lone female on the board be the voice of reason? I doubt it. The boys club zeitgeist of most traditional forms of media (nay, most industries in general) is not going to be permeated by one woman alone, despite their best intentions: just look at Mia Freedman’s foray into television at Channel Nine. And why should it be a woman’s job to make sure over-privileged, under-accountable man-children behave in their personal lives? Wouldn’t a better solution be to not reward verbal insults, physical violence, drug use, lewd behavior and sexual assault with free-to-air-time in the first place, regardless of who’s performing it and who’s in charge?

On the other channels, while Channel Ten is debuting Australia’s version of Jersey Shore, The Shire, in a couple of weeks and Sheen’s new vehicle, Anger Management, is sure to be a ratings hit, ABC and SBS push forward with groundbreaking shows that don’t reward the dominant, bad boy bogan culture, like Go Back to Where You Came From (celebrity version coming soon!) and Joe Hildebrand’s Dumb, Drunk & Racist. Unfortunately, the latter two programs appeal to what all-too-often happens to be the minority, while many of the shows listed throughout this piece are geared towards the lowest common denominator: those who are perfectly happy with the status quo or don’t notice what’s wrong with it.

TV: Being Lara Bingle—What is Normal?

 

Last night we got a glimpse into the rigmarole that goes into Being Lara Bingle.

Lara attends Fashion Week and doesn’t like her hair and makeup done for her by her friend and stylist. She thinks she looks too dirty and her features don’t stand out (funny, I thought the same thing when I saw pap photos of her from the events), her hair is “too tight” and she “looks bald”, and she has a pimple coming up, which all-round nice guy Kyle Sandilands doesn’t fail to point out when Lara’s a guest on his radio show.

Juxtaposed with this is Lara’s insistence that she’s just “one of the boys” when she goes waterskiing with some friends in Cronulla. She says she’s a tomboy at heart. I’m not even going to go into the gender constructs at play here…

Moving on to what “normal people” do; apparently it’s not walking around your house naked. So we’re still on the naked photos from last week, then. Lara’s mum seems like a total bitch and obviously favours older brother Josh as she rips Lara to shreds for being “immature” and stupid for being caught in those pictures. I’ve said it once; I’ll say it again: it’s not normal not to walk around in your own home—indeed, in your own bedroom—naked. I admire Lara’s composure when she spoke about the scandal on The Project, which was filmed for her show, but it’s getting to the point now where I wish she had’ve just told everyone who’s got a problem with the nude pics that being naked is natural and she’s got nothing to be ashamed of.

Related: Lara Bingle in Who: A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Image via Ten.

Feminism, Jackie O & C*nts.

 

The weekend newspapers really produced their fair share of thought provoking articles, with Jacqueline Maley’s exposé on the word c*nt, and Jackie O’s anti-feminist and pro-Kyle Sandilands outing in new-look Sunday Life.

The first article was an entertaining read, detailing the historical responses to the word c*nt which, when it was a street name in London in the 13th century (albeit in the red light district), suggested a sort of acceptance in the old world. PC run wild in the modern day one, perhaps?

Maley also writes of the feminist connotations of c*nt, and why it’s deemed acceptable in some circles (“Hey, c*nt!” as a term of endearment) and not in others.

Personally, it’s just a word to me, like “fuck”, “slut” and a plethora of other expletives that can be used to offend. While the article insists on writing it “c…”, as per The Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial guidelines, I guess I’m doing the word no favours in its quest to become destigmatised: even though I use it quite often and in affection, I still asterisked the “u” out.

*

On to the apparent “Better Half” of Kyle Sandilands, Jackie “O” Henderson, who unshockingly somewhat excuses Sandilands treatment of women on his show. In last year’s “fat slag” journalist controversy, Henderson stayed mum, saying in the article that, “I wasn’t about to beat up on my friend when the rest of the country was, just to save my behind. So I did keep quiet.”

So it doesn’t surprise me when Henderson say she’s not a feminist:

“Does she consider herself a feminist? ‘No,’ she says, with a shy smile.

““Why?’ I cry in disappointed tones. ‘You’re a woman.’

“‘I know,’ she says, laughing. ‘I know. I do feel like I have achieved so much, in radio especially. But I’ve never considered myself a feminist. I’m just, you know, I’m doing what I love. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. But … you know.’”

Yeah, we do. You’re embarrassed about the stigma being a feminist has, much like the connotations of c*nt. But someone who’s best friends and business partners with a man who uses his platform and influence to berate women on air for all manner of things—their appearance, their sexuality, their opinions—is not someone I want standing under the feminist umbrella.

Related: Who Thinks Jackie O’s Parenting Style is Beautiful?

I Think I’m Beginning to Understand This #MenCallMeThings Thing. Except It’s Not Just Men & It’s Not Really Me.

Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Elsewhere: [Sydney Morning Herald] The Incredible Explosive Word.

[Sydney Morning Herald] What Jackie O Really Thinks About Kyle Sandilands.

[MamaMia] A Letter to Jackei O & All the Other Non-Feminists.

Image via Facebook.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Julia Gillard is anti-marriage, period:

“After reading all of Gillard’s statements on this issue and after speaking to those who have talked to her about it, I am convinced she doesn’t believe in marriage at all, for anyone.” [ABC Unleashed]

The “Born This Way” versus choice debate continues:

“But I think the most serious problem with this argument is that it reinforces the idea that we need an excuse to be queer. As a result, using this line subtly supports the idea that being queer requires excusing in some way. Don’t use it. Don’t allow straight people to generate an understanding of queer sexuality that sounds like: ‘Well, of course Bob wouldn’t wish to be queer, but he was born this way. I guess we better give him equal rights—poor Bob, he just can’t help it. We shouldn’t punish him for something he didn’t choose!’

“Meanwhile the real reason that you shouldn’t punish Bob for queerness is because there’s nothing wrong with it!” [Social Justice League]

If you’re unfamiliar with the personhood debate, or just unclear on what it all means, this article by Jill Filipovic is a must-read. [Guardian]

Here’s another great article on Personhood and what it means for abortion laws:

“… As the Personhood message penetrates, then society will understand why women need to be punished just as surely as they understand why there can be no exceptions for rape/incest [bolded text mine].” [Salon]

Why Kyle Sandilands is a dickhead. [The Punch]

“Rethinking the Strong Female Character.” [Canonball]

Kelly Osbourne repents for her past “tranny” wrongs. [HuffPo]

And Warren Beatty and Annette Benning’s transgender son thinks Chaz Bono is a misogynist. [Super-Mattachine]

“27 & Unmarried? In China, You’re One of the ‘Leftover Women’.” Gah, only three years left for me! [Jezebel, Ms. Magazine]

What White Ribbon Day means for men. [MamaMia]

The double standards of talking about what goes on down there. [Owning Pink]

Knowing all the evils facing women in our society, would you want to bring a baby girl into the world? [Jezebel]

My, what lovely lady lumps Kristen Wiig has. All the better to be named GQ’s “Bro of the Year” with, my dear. [Jezebel]

“Eve as Literary Hero”. [Imagine Today]

Ms. Piggy as feminist and Kermit as douchefrog. [Jezebel]

Meshel Laurie on the Matthew Newton saga. [MamaMia]

On being single. [Girls Are Made from Pepsi]

Gah! “Pro-Life Feminism is the Future”. [Washington Post]

Images via Jezebel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider Costume Resource.

Ex-Factor: Matthew Newton.

 

Earlier in the year, I wrote about (male) celebrities like Matthew Newton and Matthew Johns becoming hosts of television shows, despite their questionable behaviour in their private lives, which became very public.

It is no secret that I feel very strongly about the issue of famous men being rewarded for their indiscretions because “he’s such a nice guy” or “he plays that sport we like”, despite the fact that they are a known wife-beater and drug-addict (Newton) or have been implicated in a group sex scandal with their team-mates, which the woman involved later alleged wasn’t consensual (Johns).

I expressed my disdain for the situation at my workplace yesterday: “what does this guy have that makes beautiful, talented, successful women go after him when he is a known abuser?” One colleague replied that it’s not Rachael Taylor (his most recent ex-girlfriend who filed the claims) nor Brooke Satchwell’s (the first ex to cry assault) faults, which she thought I was insinuating, but let me make myself very clear, if I haven’t already: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT THE VICTIM’S FAULT. But seriously, I will ask the above question again: What does Newton have that makes beautiful, talented, successful women go after a known abuser? And what’s more, why would Seven hire him to host The X Factor, due to debut in less than a week, when he has expressed unreliability in the past.

I personally don’t think celebrities with addictions should be thrust back into work straight after attending rehab, or in the case of Lindsay Lohan, jail to boot. Addicts need time away from the stressors of everyday life and the entertainment industry, if that is their chosen field, in order to fully recuperate and overcome their demons.

Mia Freedman also commented on the incident, asking “what should Channel 7 do” with The X Factor’s already-filmed footage, which Newton is “all over”? “When will we stop enabling celebrities to behave in utterly unacceptableand possibly criminalways? And rewarding them if we think they’ll bring ratings?” Freedman asks.

But is The X Factor really aimed at a family audience? With Newton, who was given the hosting gig around the time he was admitted to rehab earlier this year, Kyle Sandilands, a shock-jock who is constantly in hot-water for putting his foot in his mouth, and Ronan Keating, who was recently embroiled in a cheating scandal, the show’s stars aren’t exactly family friendly.

Related: Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Why Are Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Reblogged: No Words For What Hurts.

[Tiger Beatdown] I HATE I Love the Way You Lie.

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Mia Freedman shares my sentiments about famous men getting a slap on the wrist for their indiscretions.

News emerged recently that Matthew Newtonhe of the Brooke Satchwell incident and recent rehab stintis set to host Channel 7’s The X Factor

Allegedly, “his audition was so good that he beat more established TV hosts including Sonia Kruger and Axle Whitehead.” So the guy may be talented, but should he really be hosting a family show?

Then again, the judging panel does include shock-jock Kyle Sandilands and cheater Ronan Keating (both of whom I legitimately like, FYI), along with the angelic and virginal Guy Sebastian. Three out of four ain’t bad, I guess… if you’re in to tuning into a “station [that] is chock a block full of bad boys on big pay packets who are being rewarded for their unsavoury indiscretions with higher profile jobs during the family hour,” as television commentator Andrew Mercado puts it.

Come on down, The Matty Johns Show.