Julian Morrow: “Sorry but….”

jmJulian Morrow has said that the ABC interfered in Chaser skits following its reaction to the Make A Realistic Wish sketch.

At last night’s Andrew Olle Media Lecture Morrow spoke about the controversial chapter in the comedy show’s final season.

The lecture, which airs tomorrow night on the ABC, served as a right of reply for The Chaser in a much calmer media environment.

Despite the apology issued by The Chaser following the sketch, Morrow appears to have now qualified their statements.

Last night he says it was directed only at those who had been personally affected by childhood cancer.

”If you are one of those people, I want to reiterate my sincerest apology to you,” he said. ”But the next category – people who were offended by the sketch – is in my view different.”

He argued that ”the inevitable corollary to freedom of speech is that there is no such thing as a general right to not be offended. So to be honest, perhaps too honest, if you were just offended by that sketch I’m not really sorry.”

He urged the ABC not to give in to the ”short-term hysteria of media outrage” because it risks damaging its independence and integrity.

”Getting caught up in the short-term hysteria of media outrage has the potential to damage the independence and integrity of the ABC.”

The Make a Realistic Wish sketch caused a furore this year with widespread condemnation, argument, apologies, a suspension by the ABC and an executive losing some of their responsibilities.

Since then we’ve seen a flurry of other comedies with supposedly-offensive material. It’s  been one of the hot topics to emerge in 2009.

The annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture is considered one of the most prestigious forums of its kind, and can be seen at 10:15pm tomorrow night on ABC1.

Source: smh.com.au


  1. does it really matter if it wasn’t serving society? It was funny that’s the point of it. And Morrow is right, if it doesn’t affect you, you have no right to be offended. People need to get off their high horse and have a laugh once in a while.

  2. The skit wasn’t the biggest problem – it was the other 28 minutes surrounding it. The Chaser just wasn’t hitting the target in any of their skits anymore.

  3. I can’t say I was impressed by this lecture. Morrow seems to be arguing for the right to be inappropriate. Well, OK. That’s always guaranteed to get applause and a few smirks from the boys in the back row. But satire is, by definition, expected to have some underlying elevated purpose to it, right? The Chaser wasn’t usually satirical in the sense that it somehow served society. Why do people keep praising it as satire? It was just an adult version of Jackass. Sure, I laughed at the Chasers – even the Make A Wish gag. It didn’t offend me. But now he’s choosing who he’ll be saying sorry to! That’s got to be offensive. Maybe he should start by being sorry to the American jokesters he swiped the Make A Wish gag from in the first place. Sorry, Morrow, I was underwhelmed.

  4. The skit was extremely sick, disgustingly offensive, apallingly cold-hearted, obscenely deranged, and outrageously cruel. It was totally unacceptable for a civilised, decent, compassionate society!

    But as we no longer live in such a society — what else could one expect? Nothing is shocking any more, because the world has lost it’s heart and soul! God have mercy on us all…

  5. re: freedom of speech – that would be the freedom of speech that comes from living in a democratic nation, not a dictatorship. just because americans used the term doesn’t make it exclusively american.

  6. it wasn’t “anything”-ist. it was bad taste humour. which can be hilarious. as this skit was.

    good on julian for explaining his thoughts on it – which seem to echo so many of ours – so articulately.

  7. @ant. To quota, BSG – ‘and so say we all’.

    The problem is that we are quite happy to poke fun at other groups as long as we aren’t affected or the butt of the joke.

    Then again, there are those people who just love to be offended so they can get on their high horse. Maybe I am one of those too? After all, I’m offended by those who get offended.

  8. @Daniel, Tris, KFed & Benjamin: I just couldn’t resist misinterpreting the word.

    Actually the Labor government in Aust isn’t nearly as left-wing/ liberal as the Democratic party in america, nor is the Liberal party as conservative as the american Republican party. Both parties sit on the conservative side with liberal a bit more to the right (but not as much as america) and labor a bit to the left.

  9. Good on Morrow, well said, and no weasel words or back downs. What a crazed storm of ill-informed hysteria that sketch generated. I think that many of the sanctimonious squawkers hadn’t even seen it before they became outraged. I also suspect that the commercial media, stinging from The Chaser’s many hits on them, fanned it up.

    Now we have all these sacrosanct things that apparently we can’t lampoon, question or, in this case, use to make a point. We are turning into a nation of mealy-mouthed whiners! More strength to The Chaser.

  10. @Paull, I think steven g might have been referencing to the fact that the Liberal Party is conservative and the Labor party are liberal. It is strange that liberalism is left-wing yet the Liberal Party are right-wing.

  11. @Paull: don’t wanna rehash a stale topic, but the sketch did not in any way “target” any group nor did it “make fun of their differences”.

    The controversy over that sketch still amazes me.

  12. @steven g: actually the entire country has been Labor run since 2007, state and fed. If anything, I’m hoping at least nsw become liberal next election.

  13. Isn’t it funny how the more liberal (yes liberal, look it up in your dictionary) our politics become the more conservative we become !

    I thought the skit was funny !

  14. You know the thing with that skit, and the free speech argument is, say the chaser had done a racist skit that was completely targeted at one race and made fun of their differences. Or say it had been a sexist skit. Would they have done that? Or would they realise that there are limits. A skit on dying children with cancer is one of those limits.

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