An Open letter to David Penberthy

For those who do not live in Australia, here is a brief synopsis of the events referred to in the article to which I have responded.

On a day in which a number of media figures and celebrities gathered at the biggest Football Stadium in Australia (the MCG) to raise money for research into Motor Neurone Disease, there was some on-air banter between a few football commentators.

All of the celebrities were going to hop on a slide and plunge into an icy cold pool of water. There is a well-known female journalist by the name of Caroline Wilson. She has made many enemies with her nasty, take no prisoners style of journalism and a couple of those enemies joked bout the idea that next year Wilson could be the celebrity chosen to slide into the icy water. One commentator said he’d pay even more if she stayed under the water and another said he’d hop in and hold her under.

These comments have led to apoplectic outrage from our politicians, social justice warriors, domestic violence advocates and feminists. Eddie McGuire was the main target of this vitriol. He was accused of inciting violence against women, and there was even talk of an official investigation of Triple M (his radio station) by the media watchdog. McGuire was literally placed into a re-education class with two of the most bitter gender bigots in our country-Rosie Batty and Phil Cleary.

McGuire emerged ashen-faced, chastened and deeply ashamed of his ignorant utterances. He now understood the error of his ways and would even donate a large sum to the White Ribbon Organisation.

The fact that an almost identical interaction about holding Wilson under the water took place in the 3AW box at the ground raised eyebrows. Wilson had laughed along when her friends at 3AW said they would push her in and hold her under. When questioned about the apparent double standard, Caroline Wilson said it was different, because she was present and could see the warmth in her friends’ eyes as they said it.

Melbourne has been drowning in an ocean of self-righteous accusations of men and their incitement of violence against women through their casual jokes and remarks.


Hi David,

I am writing in the forlorn hope that you will respond to my genuine questions about your article titled, ‘There can be a fine line between humour and menace in blokes’ banter which appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun (26/6/16).

I am often left flabbergasted by the countless articles written by both female and male journalists who betray a profound contempt for the male gender. Your article today is a perfect example.

You begin by writing about a tragic case where a woman was drugged and raped on a ship cruise. You relate how the all-male staff on duty in your newsroom that day the story came to light, decided it was too confronting to be presented on page one of the newspaper as you thought female readers would be upset. So you placed it on page seven.

Apparently, the female journalists who were absent when this decision was made, opened your eyes to the fact that this was an act of unmitigated stupidity. The female journalists expressed the view the following day that the story should have been on the front page in order to shame the men and demand an end to such behaviour. You wrote:

That day at work illustrated a great truth. Organisations are usually at their stupidest when women are shunted to one side. All male organisations are almost always incapable of making informed decisions and often behave like ratty boys in a schoolyard.

There is just so much to unpack in this one stupefying paragraph.

May I ask first of all, why you would call what was clearly a sensitive, compassionate decision by a group of men, motivated by their concern about the impact such a terrible story would have on female readers, stupid?

Secondly, why do you immediately make the assumption that the opinion of a handful of female journalists was the correct one and one which spoke for all women, any more than decisions by a handful of male journalists would be taken as representing the views of all men? Do you automatically give way to any suggestions or ideas a female colleague may raise simply on the basis of her gender? Why is their view in any way more valid than the one held by the men? I am sure some female readers would have been offended or disturbed by the front page story.

By the way, David, would those same female journalists who made you realise just how stupid you and your mates were without their insightful wisdom to call upon, demand that the story about the mum who hacked eight children to death with a kitchen knife in Cairns, be on the front page of the newspaper too? Did they hope to shame all mums who have abused their kids or had the potential to kill them? Perhaps this shaming tactic is only meant to be applied to men. If the female journalists had decided the murdering mother story was too confronting for a front page would they have altered their view after conferring with male staff who had children?

Then there is another more disturbing tone to the paragraph. It is the fact that you happily write a couple of nasty generalisations about men and the way they operate as a group which you would never, even if offered the most substantial bribe, even think about writing about the female gender. You called men stupid, incapable of making informed decisions without the help of women and often guilty of ratty behaviour.

If you had made such observations about women, Muslims, refugees, gays or any other group of people you care to name, this article would now be the centre of a firestorm and your very job may be under threat.

This alone should underline the very sad state of our society. The fact that at a time where the dominant voices in our media, government and entertainment industry are very much orientated to the left in a political sense and very happy to preach tolerance, acceptance, and equality. We have a situation where an entire gender can be mocked, sneered at, ignored and belittled without a word of protest being raised by anyone but sad individuals like myself.

The very fact that you conceded that the comments about Caroline Wilson have received more column inches than the moon landing only underlines the absolutely ridiculous obsession our society has with women and anything perceived to be critical of them. Mark Latham recently dared to criticise Rosie Batty. Rather than being given a reasoned, well argued response from Batty; a Twitter and a Facebook-driven firestorm erupted, demanding he never works in the media again. If he had made the same comments about a male domestic violence advocate, there would have been no outcry.

McGuire makes a silly joke about someone he doesn’t like, suggesting he’d pay more to see her stay under the water, and he has been torn to shreds and accused of inciting violence against women. If it wasn’t so sickeningly bigoted and sad, you could view it as so absurd as to be hilarious. We now have a possible investigation by the media watchdog over comments made by Sam Newman on the Footy Show and Triple M. It is truly frightening.

We are forever told that women are the equal of men in every way. They are as tough, resilient, clever, capable, and innovative as any man and equipped with the leadership skills to match any man. This is certainly true in the case of some women. If so, why do we have such hysterical reactions every time a powerful woman is criticised, mocked or opposed? Men are routinely eviscerated by the media and general population without this ever being seen sexist, uncalled for or unfair. The attacks on men are usually greeted with jocularity and affirmation, regardless of how personal and nasty they are. Why the double standards?

Miranda Devine says it so succinctly in this brief exchange with a feminist known as Karl Stefanovic.

This reaction is, in fact, demeaning to women who claim to be able to stand in the kitchen with men and handle the heat. You then make the astonishing claim that accusations of political correctness gone mad are rubbish:

You can say almost anything you like, really.

 Really, David?  Why not prove the truth of your statement. I personally think it’s a load of tripe. You are confused. What you meant to say is that you can say anything you like about a man or the male gender without fear it will cause any negative repercussions and a strong chance you will be applauded and acclaimed.

But, David-you cannot say anything construed to be a putdown of women without expecting a huge backlash. Remember the scientist who said he couldn’t work with women because he fell in love with them? He got sacked for this off the cuff joke. What about the men making jokes at a tech conference? They got sacked too. The jokes were told to one another and overheard by a woman. I’ll even give you a man hating feminist perspective on the event.

Perhaps you recall the deliriously excited scientist reporting the news that the Rosetta Project had accomplished one of the most impressive scientific feats in our lifetime. They essentially moved a clunky machine from one speeding bullet onto another, by remote control, from 310 million miles away

But Matt Taylor was wearing a shirt covered in scantily clad comic book females holding guns. The shirt, by the way, was designed by a female friend.

All hell broke loose. Long story short-Matt Taylor breaks down and sobs at a hastily convened press conference and does his mea culpa for the outraged and offended feminists. Similar, I suppose to the countless apologies so many men have been forced to give even when there was nothing to apologise for.

There are countless examples of men making remarks about women which have caused outrage and demands for them to lose their job (which has happened) or give grovelling apologies. We have witnessed a number of those this week.

Do you want to understand the true irony of this Eddie and Caroline debacle, David? Here it is. Eddie did in fact, a little over three months ago, make a series of jokes about an actual victim of domestic violence. He and the other members of his Triple M morning crew laughed about the fact that a man had been stabbed in his testicle by an angry girlfriend. You will find the details in this open letter.

There was not one word of protest raised by any of the self-righteous, sanctimonious family violence advocates who are so willing to climb on their soapbox even when someone makes a silly joke about a woman. Here was a case of real violence inflicted upon a young man and no-one gave a stuff. As you pointed out, Eddie’s joke about Wilson filled more inches than the moon landing. Where was the perpetually outraged Phil Cleary? Why wasn’t Rosie Batty called upon to remind us of the horrors of domestic abuse?

Isn’t there a sickness in the heart of our society? This is a sickness that seems to be invisible to all but the most observant. Sweet Lord, can you imagine what would have happened to Eddie and his mates had they joked about a woman who had had her genitals mutilated by an angry boyfriend? And you, David, say we can say almost anything we like. We can, when it comes to speaking about men. But what can we say about the female gender?

I have a challenge for you, David Penberthy. In your next article, I want you to write about women in the workplace. This is what I would like you to write:

That day at work I discovered a great truth. Organizations are usually at their stupidest when men are shunted to one side. All female organizations are almost always incapable of making fully informed decisions and often behave like a bunch of bitchy girls in a schoolyard.

There can be no disclaimer or revelation that it was all just a joke or dare, just present it as you did today’s bigoted piece. Let’s see what flows from such a comment, my friend. You have nothing to lose, David, because you have assured us all that we can say almost anything.

You can demonstrate just how ill informed are those who say, the wowsers and the feminists will up you for the rent

Prove it.


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