David Koch hits back at editorial slamming “sexist and demeaning” segment

A war of words breaks out between Kochie and Mamma Mia, all over a stripper's pole and its context.

2014-01-23_0014A war of words has broken out between Sunrise co-host David Koch and Mia Freedman’s Mama Mia website after editor Jamila Rizvi criticised an online segment as “sexist and demeaning.”

During “The Sunrise Couture” segment, broadcast on the Sunrise site, co-host Sam Armytage joked that her shoes resembled “stripper’s shoes.” But after David Koch walked on with a stripper’s pole and Joe Cocker’s Leave Your Hat On began playing, Mama Mia published an editorial entitled, “Dear Kochie. It’s not okay to humiliate your colleague on television.”

“Are you cool with that? Was Sam?” 

“Sam proceeded to play along with it; wrapping her leg around the pole, giggling and looking embarrassed. Uncomfortable. But her reaction appeared to be one of genuine surprise – this little skit wasn’t cleared with her in advance, she hadn’t given the OK for it to go ahead.

“’These shoes are the choice for pole dancers all over the country,’ Sam said. To which Koch replied “Be careful because they’re quite reflective” as he peered down at his co-host’s bare legs.

“The whole thing made my stomach turn just a little. Partly because the segment was incredibly low brow, totally unfunny humour. Partly because I wished Sam had stood up for herself and told her co-host where to go.

“It was sexist and demeaning.

“Samantha Armytage is a journalist. Not eye candy there for the titillation of Kochie, the crew or the viewers.”

But Koch hit back saying the segment had not been broadcast on Sunrise, that Armytage had made the joke not him, that suggestions she didn’t have the power to object were ridiculous and that further suggestions she was eye candy for him were demeaning to his wife and family.

Armytage also acknowledged via Twitter that she would be the first to say if she was uncomfortable.

Things got worse when Koch tweeted that his comment had been banned by the site and the original story had been amended.


Eventually Koch’s comment was published, but despite 160 submitted comments, the site has since closed comments and none (including Koch’s) appear at the time of publishing.

On the Mamia Mia Facebook page the site has come in for a serve from angry readers, including many accusing it of deleting comments.

Sunrise Executive Producer Michael Pell has said of the kerfuffle, “It’s just a bit of fun. It certainly gave us all a good laugh. If any strippers have been offended by this video, we sincerely apologise.”

Update: Sam Armytage responds to MamaMia story on Sunrise this morning, indicating she had no problem with the segment.

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