6PR’s Basil Zempilas apologises over transgender comments

Former Editor & Content Director

6PR’s Breakfast co-host, and recently elected Lord Mayor of Perth, Basil Zempilas has apologised for offensive comments he made about transgender people.

On air on Wednesday morning, the media personality said identifying as transgender was “wrong”.

He also offered a $100 voucher for any “woman with a penis” to ring the station.

“If you’ve got a penis, mate, you’re a woman,” Zempilas said. “If you’ve got a vagina, you’re a woman. Game over.”

The comments sparked backlash from activists, the wider community, and the media.

Zempilas has now apologised, calling it “bad broadcasting”, and noting he briefly “forgot” he was the Lord Mayor.

“That was my mistake. It’s my job to be better than that and it won’t happen again,” he said at a press conference.

“I do know what a transgender person is and I regret the comments that I made, because I know they’re not helpful.”

On air he said he had to do better.

“I’m disappointed in myself for making those comments and I realise I’ve let people down.

“I realise also that I have caused pain to people who have experienced some of the issues that I talked about.

“I made a mistake, and it’s my mistake to accept. “I have to do better, and I will do better.”

A 6PR spokesperson said the network did not support Zempilas’ comments.

“We regularly provide training for our employees to ensure our broadcasters meet community standards and expectations. Basil’s comments did not meet those expectations and it is appropriate he has apologised,” the spokesperson added.

Zempilas is finishing up with the Nine Radio station at the end of the year.

Nine Radio had previously decided he could not straddle both his on-air position and the Perth Council’s top job. He would have to go if he became Mayor.

Prior to his election win, however, he announced he would leave the radio gig due to media commitments and conflicts at rival Seven West Media, which operates both TV and the West Australian Newspaper network in WA.

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1 Nov 2020 - 10:04 am

He also “forgot” he was broadcasting on radio. Now that he’s the Lord Mayor of Perth, he’s become a burden to his media employers, particularly 6PR as it’s live and unscripted. Too dangerous, Bas. He should never have stayed on radio after winning the election. How much money does one person need to make?


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