Tracey Spicer & Meshel Laurie weigh in on Barry Hall sacking

Image: afl.com.au

Triple M Melbourne has spent the weekend putting out bushfires, sparked by on-air comments by football commentator Barry Hall on Friday night.

The former Sydney Swans player made distasteful comments about the pregnant partner of former St Kilda player Leigh Montagna during the pre-game coverage of the Western Bulldogs-Geelong clash.

Within minutes, Hall was sacked by Triple M’s head of content Mike Fitzpatrick, who issued a statement.

“Tonight on Triple M Football there were unacceptable and inappropriate comments made by a member of the commentary team.

“The commentator was removed immediately from the broadcast and an apology was issued on air afterwards.

“Immediate action was taken with the termination of employment for one team member.”

While Triple M has been praised for taking quick action, the scandal continued to gain momentum, prompting Hall to issue his own apology for the vulgar comments.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence taken from my commentary on Friday night’s Triple M footy coverage,” Hall said.

“It was a silly thing to say and it is not a reflection of who I am or what my views are.

“I am a proud father and dedicated partner and have nothing but respect for women.

“I apologise to the Montagna family for any upset I have caused them and wish them all the best with the exciting arrival of their baby.

“I also want to thank those for their support and am disappointed that I have been stood down because of this incident.

“Once again, I am sorry, I should not have said such an inappropriate comment on air and hope I can be forgiven and move forward from here.”

But Triple M’s sacking and Hall’s apology did little to silence the online critics.

Journalist Tracey Spicer, who’s been instrumental in shining a light on sexual harassment within the Australian entertainment and media industries, also bought into the debate on Twitter.

As did former KIIS 101.1 breakfast co-host, Meshel Laurie. She took to Twitter where she implored Triple M to have a conversation with listeners and use this opportunity to talk about why the comments were offensive.

Laurie also wrote an open-letter to Hall on her Instagram account., in which  noted she’d met the former footballer on a few occasions and thought he was ‘probably a pretty good dude’, but went on to say that ‘rape jokes’ are never funny and that she was sorry he’d found out in a such publicly humiliating way.

A post shared by Meshel Laurie (@meshel_laurie) on

Presenter Shelley Ware told Nine Network’s The Today Show on Sunday that the comments were a sign of a deeper problem with AFL culture, and was particularly distressed that none of the other commentators pulled him into line.

“I was really distressed by the fact that they just kept talking and some of the biggest names in AFL were there with him and they didn’t stop him at any point and say that it was wrong,” said Ware.

“This culture and this whole boys club that we have been a part of in the AFL for so long, I think we need a whole cultural change.”

Hall was sharing the commentary box with ex-player Nathan Brown, broadcaster Mark Howard and journalist Damian Barrett at the time of the incident.

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