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Santa should bring Sandilands the sack

By Elizabeth Lakey - posted Thursday, 24 November 2011

Kyle Sandilands has launched a vitriolic hate-filled attack on News Ltd journalist Alison Stephenson after she reported on the less than favourable audience response to his new TV show with Co host Jacki O - A night with the stars. In it, he refers to her hair, breasts ("titties"), weight and calls her a slag and a piece of shit. He also threatens to "hunt her down".

This is the latest in a long string of very public meltdowns for Sandilands. The most notorious of which found him questioning a 14 year-old girl live on radio about her sexual experiences. When she revealed that she had been raped aged 12, he continued the interview and asked if that was her only sexual experience so far.

For this transgression, he was fired from Australian Idol and Austereo suspended his radio show for 2 weeks. He was also forced to attend counselling. It doesn't seem to have had the desired effect.


Sandilands recently lashed out at singer Ricki Lee Coulter when she spoke out in support of Channel 10 for removing him from Australian Idol, describing her as 'back-then fat', referring to her recent weight loss.

Before that he implied that comedian Magda Szubanski (then spokesperson for a weight-loss company) would lose more weight in a concentration camp. His attacks date to 2006 when he called a heavily pregnant journalist a "fat toad" and a "fat, lying mole". At this point, it is perhaps pertinent to remind readers that Sandilands is hardly a poster boy for healthy living.

However, what is more disturbing about Sandilands' repeated outbursts than his hypocrisy is his inability to hit out at his detractors (mostly women) without denigrating their bodies and sexuality.* When we think of his most serious offences, they have all referred explicitly to sex and women's physical appearance.

Why does he do this? It seems that when backed into a corner (even by some impartial reportage that is not to his liking) he is only able to respond by attacking women and their bodies. This is quite simply, disgusting.

It is especially sad, given that White Ribbon Day falls this Friday, that Sandilands has been allowed to perpetuate this kind of hatred against women. Each time he explodes, he displays his sickening misogyny. He is truly an insecure teenage boy trapped in a grown man's salary.

While many criticise the quality Sandilands' shows, there is no doubt he has some limited star pulling power - garnering the first interview with Lindsay Lohan after her second-to-last jail stint. With his long-time co host Jacki O, he consistently achieves solid ratings.


This seems to be enough to keep him in a job, despite the continued unacceptable belittling of his guests and audience.

In an interesting parallel, Fairfax's ex-commentator Catherine Deveny met her timely demise last year after some particularly sordid comments. She had been on the nose for a while, ridiculing residents of certain suburbs for their consumeristic tendencies and any Australian who chose to celebrate ANZAC day. In a particularly memorable paroxsysm, she likened Australian Diggers to a pack of rapists. As difficult as some of this was to palate, at least she never resorted to poking fun at people's appearances. The overt references to sexuality were also absent.

However, in the same way that when Deveny crossed the line with the Bindi Irwin rape comment, Austereo must recognise that Sandilands (who has been operating on the wrong side of decency for most of his career) has now gone a step too far.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Lakey is a PhD student at the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne.

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