Bert: “It’s the way I work”

Bert Newton has responded to a polarising reaction to his Logie Awards speech, in which he joked that Graham Kennedy and Don Lane had mentored young talent in their dressing rooms, and jokingly referred to himself as “an old poof.”

“If I did offend somebody, or anybody, or a lot of people, I apologise – but I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again because it’s the way I work. Then again I may never work again,” the 79 year old said.

Newton was also quizzed about the jokes by media in the Logies press room.

“It was totally innocent so far as I am concerned,” he told News Corp.

“In fairness these days, everything is jumped on. I am not that sort of person. I didn’t mean anything untoward.”

Newton is synonymous with the Logies and makes rare public appearances of late. Whilst this wasn’t his finest hour, it will be unfortunate if it overshadows his numerous memorable hostings.


  1. The “jokes” in reference to mentoring by lane and Kennedy were in poor taste and to top it off media reports saying “that’s just Bert don’t worry about it” makes it 100 times worse. Has the industry learnt nothing from the Weinstein saga. This type of talk (or action) is not ok. For years people knew what was going on with Weinstein and they too made light of it or disregarded it, I thought society had learnt this was not ok – apparently not.

  2. Dantheman84

    Interesting that nine have deleted Bert and the award from 9now logies catchup. I find that disappointing for Dilruk who was innocent in all of this drama

  3. Personally I hate whenever someone uses the word ”poof”. I know he didn’t mean to cause offense and he leveled it at himself, but having to hear it just brings back really terrible times for those who have been on the receiving end of such words, Certain words, regardless of context, should just be retired. It’s a word meant to humiliate, devalue and denegrade someone. It was leveled at me many times growing up. I’m not a “snowflake” or “PC warrior”; I just think we need to treat people with greater respect by not using certain words that have historically caused great offense.

  4. am i missing something, hasn’t he been happily married to Patty for yonks? is he seriously saying he’s a bit queer or just using it as some sort of term of endearment? i don’t see how it can really be offensive if someone says it about themselves, if its used as name calling thats a different matter.
    As for the ‘mentoring’ comments, its a bit close to the mark, but thats comedy. Dave Hughes said some things that were up there too & i haven’t seen anyone complain about that, maybe because he’s not an ‘old poof’ but of a more recent generation, probably alot of watchers would barely have heard of Bert.

  5. I really don’t understand all the outrage when you look at what so called comedians get away with saying these days. Its as if it isn’t funny unless it has some kind of sexual undertone or swearing. Leave Bert alone, he is a legend and we will most probably not see him again after all this kerfuffle

  6. I can forgive the “old poof” remark. That’s just Bert not realising that using the term as a backhanded endearment has gone out of fashion, even in showbiz circles. But saying he “didn’t mean anything untoward” by the remark about Kennedy and Lane is desperate disingenuous. It’s not a joke if “mentoring” is not meant as a double entendre, and it’s not a joke worth doing if there isn’t a grain of truth to it. This is precisely the kind of humour Newton and Kennedy used to banter with on air years ago – often calling out what was in plain sight and turning it into a joke. Kennedy’s sexuality frequently got this treatment, years before there was any real public awareness that Kennedy was gay. So are we to conclude that Bert was making a joke about Kennedy and Lane mentoring a la Weinstein – in which case it’s not at all funny and Bert should be ashamed. Or are we to…

  7. Snowflakes of the world are ruining everything. Offended by this, offended by that.

    I’m sure everyone offended probably said the word whilst growing up.

  8. Izzeythegreat

    Bert is the best of the best. Made all the presenters at the Logies look like amateurs. Lines like “you look hot” “Give her another round of applause ” Made me nauseous Should stick to their days jobs as no one would hire them as an MC

  9. It will get to the point where nobody will be willing to appear on these shows, in case someone gets offended, and the shows will become even more boring.

  10. peepatweeta

    Bert was hitting all the goals until he made two mistakes- he said Susan Carlin converted to Islam for Waleed Aly (she converted before they met) and made some jokes that were not politically correct.
    I’m surprised about the former but not the latter. That’s Bert’s style and the producers must have known that might happen. It doesn’t excuse him but you have to wonder what the agenda might have been in asking him to present that award. He is getting older and older people have a tendency to be less restrained in their conversations.
    I just felt sad for him as I saw the backlash coming.

  11. melbourneamy

    Whilst I was not offended by his comments, I can understand why people were. His choice of words were of poor taste, he has apologised, so let’s just put it behind us and move on. The world has much bigger issues to deal with than worrying about what Bert said.

    • The world will always have “much bigger issues”. The way you make progress towards solving them is to push back on the smaller stuff each time it crops up, not just ‘put it all behind us and move on’.

      Doesn’t take much pushback – and in this case it hasn’t gotten much. Bert’s old, he did something old and silly, and he seems to have taken it with at least the semblence of an apology. Doesn’t mean we need to harangue him over it – but it doesn’t mean we didn’t need to push back either…

      Personally, I like the French approach – teach children & people critical thinking and healthy skepticism from ‘école élémentaire’ onwards. But even if we started now it’s unlikely to have any effect before about the 80th Logie Awards…

  12. Thought maybe the comparison of religion to a TAB account was a stretch but the rest of it felt as is he was roasting Graham Kennedy, which I felt fit in with the tone of the show.

  13. In an age of moral decay, people seem to be looking for *anything* to be indignant or feel superior about. Whatever happened to sticks and stones? We have politicians, people directly responsible for our rights, saying far worse on a daily basis, on record, that actually impede on our rights.

    Plus, Mr. Newton’s remark were self-deprecating for God’s sake, or aren’t we allowed to make fun of ourselves anymore either?

    • John Jackson

      Yeah, people acting all offended is a bit over the top. Bert has called himself an old poof for ages. I recall him saying it of himself and a few of the regulars he would have on GMA.

  14. daveinprogress

    I’m with Bert on this one. He called himself an old poof, and although I dislike the term having been called it a lot when i was a kid, if he chooses to dub himself that, so be it. As long as I can remember there’s been rumours about Bert and sexuality, so maybe he was mocking himself or maybe it was a self revelatory moment. Why is it ok to make Don Burke jabs but not Graham Kennedy or Don Lane jabs? Yes it’s very 2018 to get outraged at language and behaviour, but if it is all steeped in truth, then can it be argued down? For me the more egregious behaviour is the way that women are spoken about, spoken to and generally objectified and reduced. That needs to be called out.

  15. Classic notpology: “If I did offend …” You don’t apologise “if” someone was offended. You apologise “for” being offensive and/or wilfully ignorant in a post-#MeToo world.

    And he hasn’t learnt his lesson: “but I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again”.

    Can we put these old fossils out the pasture permanently? Please? I say that as a middle-aged white guy myself. We can do better.

    • I actually don’t think we can do better, he is a showman and a comedian. We all know he went out to cause some controversy. Good on him.

    • Nonsense. Such language and “jokes” have always caused offence, but in the past women and minorities just had to suck it up and take it. Not any more. Just because offensive individuals can no longer browbeat their victims into silence does not imply “society has gone crazy”. Quite the opposite – society is waking up.

      • I think more people were broad minded about everything back in my day. If you can’t laugh at oneself and see the humour in things then people become offended by everything. That’s sad. I even think some people need to get over themselves. I think those who can look past unintentional innuendoes about things in comedy and humour are happier people. Laughter is one of life’s greatest gifts. It makes our complex and often confusing existence decidedly more tolerable. If a sexist or insulting remark is said to someone intentionally in their face, then that’s different.

    • Agreed. I get tired of hearing complaints about minor things that get said. Most jokes are meant to be taken with a grain of salt. If everyone takes offense to everything that is said there will be no comedy at all in the near future. It seems society is highly offended by everything and everyone.

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