Over 11,000 people sign petition calling for radio star Basil Zempilas to stand down as Perth Mayor
Over 11,000 people have logged their dissatisfaction with Perth’s recently elected Lord Mayor, media personality Basil Zempilas.
Zempilas landed in hot water when soon after his election to the Perth City Council’s top job, he used his position as co-host of Nine Radio’s 6PR Breakfast program to slander transgender people.
Following the initial backlash, Zempilas called his own comments “bad broadcasting” and said he’d momentarily forgotten that he was also Perth’s Mayor.
His initial on-air comments had contended that people who identified as transgender were “wrong”, and offered any “woman with a penis” a $100 voucher should they call into 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,” he added.
Despite apologising on air and admitting he had to do better in future, a petition started by the Perth Scorpions Volleyball Club has still garnered over 11,000 signatures at time of writing.
“Prior to being appointed he already made disgusting and shameful comments about the homeless of Perth and how he will be pushing to have them kicked out of the city. He has now followed this up with hateful, bigoted and appalling comments about trans and non binary people on the 6PR radio station,” the petition says.
The petition is addressed to WA Premier Mark McGowan and says Zempilas should be “stood down and boycotted”.
6PR has previously made it clear it does not support the 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,” a spokesperson said.
Zempilas joined 6PR, which was then part of Fairfax Radio, back in 2013, but 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, Zempilas 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.
At the time of this story’s publication, 11,051 people have signed the petition. Zempilas was elected as Mayor on tbe basis of 1,855 votes.