Eddie apologises and agrees to join anti-homophobia campaign

Eddie McGuire has apologised for his comments which have been branded homophobic and indicated he would appear in an anti-homophobia campaign, IDAHO.

Speaking today to Melbourne gay radio station JOY, McGuire said the remarks were a ‘pisstake’ about figure skating costumes and not directed at Johnny Weir. He defended his own track recording of supporting the gay community and noted that an Anti-Discrimination complaint would “whack” someone who was “on their side.”

“It was a gag. Whether it was a good one or not that happens all the time in live television but it certainly wasn’t aimed at or construed to be homophobic. As I’ve said it’s very easy to say ‘If anyone was offended I apologise.’ Obviously people found it offensive and I apologise, and I’ve said that all the way along. I notice that Gary Burns said yesterday that I should apologise. Hey, I apologised because there was no intent to hurt anyone, so if there was any hurt or anything tlike that -100% taken back,” he said.

“If they’re looking to whack anyone I really think they’re going to be whacking the wrong bloke because I’m on the side of good on this one.”

McGuire referred to the story as being driven by online media site Crikey,

“I’ve spent a lot of time since the furore that came out a day after, and no-one seemed to worry about it for a day and then suddenly one gossip column in an internet forum decided to go for it, but what is interesting here is that whole situation with Mick was in a comedy scenario where we were joking about the costumes,” he said.

“At no stage did we have a go at Johnny Weir. In fact if you have a listen to the segment we say how wonderful he is and how we supported him.

“There’s been a lot of hoo ha here,” he said.

“The comments we made were about the costumes. We were laughing at the curling comments which were worn by… I don’t know if they were gay, straight or anything else but we were laughing at the costumes and they were flamboyant costumes. There was no attacking anybody in regards to their sexuality.”

McGuire said he had been hurt by the reaction to the incident and consulted afterwards with gay friends, and gay television executives.

“I spoke to Brian Walsh who’s the head of Foxtel and said, ‘Brian sit down, watch this, watch it on your own, come back to me, what did you think?’ He said, ‘Look you’re right it has been blown out of proportion,’ he said, ‘look that might have been a bit touch and go, but maybe in a Tonight setting.’

“I said ‘It was in a Tonight setting, because we brought in an audience, Mick was there, it was absolutely a pisstake segment if you like, not commentary on the games itself, let’s have a look at some of the funny things that are going on here….'”

A Foxtel Press Release branded the remarks homophobic and contributed to an ice cold war with its join Olympic partner, the Nine Network.

“Bad luck for me, but I’ve been bruised and hurt by this. Not personally, but the last thing on God’s earth I want to be is any sort of poster person for any discrimination against gays. I am so the opposite. Every sinew and everything I stand for is for looking after minority groups,” he said.

But McGuire said he “half-welcomed” the Anti-Discrimination complaint but hopes to find a mediation and avoid fronting the ADB in Sydney.

“Where I’m concerned is that I don’t want any rednecks or real homophobes to be able to try and trail in behind any comments that I made or Mick made an then defame people or attack them in a vicious way,” he said.

“The term homophobic’s been thrown around. I think Gary Burns in Sydney’s got to be a little bit careful on the way he goes with this and villifies people just because he has a different take on what was said. I mean ‘Homophobia’ means you have a phobia of homosexuals that is you’re either frightened of them or you fear them, or you hate them. That’s a big, big call.”

He also noted his previous efforts to support gay representation in sport, and happy to stand up and have his track record compared analysed. He hoped people would remember some of his other achievements.

“…he was the bloke who really pushed hard when HIV was in football, he’s got letters from the various gay lobby groups saying he did more in 20 minutes on The Footy Show than we did in 5 years of frightening the hell out of people with the Grim Reaper campaign, helped set up the Gay Magpies at Collingwood, and has had numerous people over the years say that he has been at the forefront of gay relations in particularly the television, showbiz world,” he said.

“I think Gary Burns has got to be a bit careful in going after people who are on his side. He doesn’t know me, he doesn’t know what I’m about. There’s probably good odds that I’ll get a pasting at the Mardi Gras.”

McGuire also said he was in talks with Johnny Weir, who has been reporting for Nine, to visit Australia and perform.

He also said he had previously explained to his children that he had diverse friends who visit his house and had received support from gay colleagues since the furore.

“I’m very conscious of 12, 13, 14 year old boys trying to work out where they are in life. And you don’t have to be gay to be doing that either. We have the biggest rate of youth suicide in the world per capita and it’s not just gay kids, it’s kids across the board.”

When asked about joining other celebrities and sports stars who have appeared in the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) campaign, McGuire replied, “I’d be the Patron if I could be involved!”

Channel Nine’s Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin appeared in the IDAHO campaign following a complaint by Gary Burns over a Footy Show sketch.

“I’d rather sit down with Gary Burns and work out a positive way to go forward,” McGuire said.

“I don’t want to have to go to Sydney and argue the point against people I actually believe in and want to support. It’s counter-intuitive and it’s counter-productive.”

But he also noted that he didn’t want any includion to be misconstrued as “Oh I might be in trouble so now I have to square up with my gay bonafides and things.’

“Look I don’t know much about IDAHO but I’m back next week so boys can you let me know?”

Source: JOY

20 Comments:

  1. A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”)
    To many convenient modern translation for the politically correct are invading not only our language but our social conscience.
    Eddies a clown and I have nothing against Gay people and they shouldn’t have anything against the majority of non Gay people,but…….Phobias a fear always was and always should be.
    The word is confrontational and alarmist.

  2. @kfed, interesting point about IDAHO, the last think you want is an anti-homophobia group which full of people who are trying to make amends for their insensitive comments.

  3. Eddie Mc Guire is backpedaling faster then a Sunday afternoon of frantic Linda Lovelace lovemaking.(If you are under 50 you may ask who is Ms Lovelace) ?
    If you don’t know you better ask your father.
    IDAHO should not involve itself in this matter until it has been fully investigated by The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB).
    To do so would jeorpadise the complaint currently before the NSW ADB.
    Anyway,
    “How do you fatten a pig on market day”?
    I would say any damage from the comments have already been made out.

  4. I find it hugely ironic that the photo accompanying this article makes Eddie look so totally gay.

    Eddie’s frantic backpedalling and justification of his comments is now becoming a major embarrassment, along with his pathetic commentary. I fail to see how describing figure skating as “a bit of Brokeback” is aimed only at their costumes. What utter rubbish!!! I’m not sure if it is a good idea of IDAHO to use Eddie in an anti-homophobia campaign. I would have doubts about his sincerity, as to me it look like an opportunistic attempt to rehabilitate his image after this gaffe.

  5. To me, homophobia is about intent, as well as an unconscious prejudice. I am a gay man, and I make homophobic comments occasionally – slips of the tongue – it happens! Eddie is an idiot, and perhaps ego is some of the reason behind this apology – but, to his credit, he didn’t have to take it this far. His initial comments probably intended nothing sinister or hurtful – as others have said – he is a pretty lousy commentator. There are far worse things said and done every day towards the gay and lesbian and transgendered community.

  6. I’m more offended by his woeful commentary than the comment itself. Yes it was a stupid remark, and obviously relates gay stereotypes and those of figure skating. But i can take a joke, i laugh at my own expense all the time, but depends who’s saying it, and reasoning behind it. The Olympics is not really the time to be making gay jokes now though is it.

    My complaint is Eddie is just a terrible commentator, but Nine just love him too much that nothing we say about how bad he is will ever get through to them.

  7. watching nine’s Vancouver team go grovelling after Johnny Weir night after night is embarassing. What, if they cuddle up to him, it will all just go away? Nine’s blokey culture has once again been exposed.

  8. At the end of the day Eddie has one of the biggest egos in the business, and if he sounded insincere in his apologies, I just think it’s because he’s not a very sincere person. He probably wouldn’t have to keep apologising if he had done a better job of it the first (and second) time. Instead he got his back up, tried to justify what he said, and is now finger pointing (I haven’t read Crikey in years, I was actually able to hear him say what he said on the TV. Amazing). I especially loved “I know a gay person and I got them to watch the tape and they said it was okay!”

    Eddie’s also not a funny man, despite what he might think, and was obviously stretching his talents (ahem) trying to banter with Mick Molloy. I’m sure his comments were not said to inspire hate, but they were belittling – the kind of thing likely to effect the very 12-14-year-olds he spoke of. Eddie is certainly no stranger to school bully style humour and behaviour.

    I don’t know anything about IDAHO, but I would suggest that allowing big mouths to rehab their images by jumping onto such campaigns is unfair to the campaigns themselves. Just look at the awkward Fatty Vautin work. It’s not like they were lining up to help before they were being charged with homophobia (I actually agree with Eddie that that word doesn’t really fit in many of the contexts it is used).

    But seriously, this particular issue should go away now.

  9. Eddie has a point, that Gary Burns is doing more harm to his cause than good and he’s embarrassing not only himself but the group of people that he claims to represent. And, really, did the gay community vote Gary Burns as their spokesperson? No. So he needs to step back and just be careful about his flippant “complaints”.

  10. The word Phobia suggests a fear of,while I not for one moment condone any form of prejudice against Homosexuals,there was a time in my life where jokes were often traded at their expense and I can remember feeling uncomfortable at a 90% gay wedding.
    But at no time did I or any one i know ever experience “Fear”,The word Homophobia is totally wrongly used and does absolutely nothing to help the Gay cause.

  11. Fair enough, i dont believe he ever intended to be homophobic but obviously as with everything anyone says on tv these days there are always certain groups of people who get upset (or in this case certain people in certain groups) and now theyll be saying he is trying to dig his way out of a hole. A whole they put him in

  12. Has Eddie just outed Brian Walsh? That’s how this story reads.

    Gary Burns really needs to get another hobby. He has become the Peter Hoare of complainants.

  13. David writes:… “and gay television sxecutives.” Pretty sure that one’s a typo! 😉

    Eddie’s obviously on all fours firing here, supporting his position… Fair enough too I say! But homophobia goes far, far beyond the literal meaning.

    Again, Eddie has done no wrong here except to have expressed extremely poor judgment on live TV… So what? So did the Hey Hey skit. Meh.

    “We have the biggest rate of youth suicide in the world per capita and it’s not just gay kids, it’s kids across the board.”

    Well, yes, but in fact it’s actually **severely** skewed towards young gay males. Gay males make up over 30% of male suicides. Considering the gay:straight male ratio in society, gay suicide is rife in Australia.

    On a lighter note: Eddie looks a little ‘gay’ himself in the photo above!

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