Kyle Sandilands says it’s free speech and also that it’s quite all right and reasonable and why not? He explains carefully.
I’ll attack any journalist that attacks me that I think’s unfair.
Well what he means is, if a journalist says something about his show that he doesn’t like, he will not respond with an explanation of why she is wrong or a criticism of her reasoning, but rather, he will call her a fat slag, a fat bitter thing with a nothing job, and a piece of shit, and then he will tell her to watch her mouth or he’ll hunt her down. In other words he’ll say the most degrading things he can think of and then he’ll threaten her.
That’s not what free speech is for. That’s not what’s meant by “free speech.” A large man shouting insults and threats at a woman over the radio is not “free speech” except in the barest minimal sense that it is not quite against the law (although the threat quite possibly is). Some kinds of bullying are not illegal but they are or should be socially shunned.
John Birmingham of the SMH gets this.
…if blame lies anywhere for the faint, continuing stench on the airwaves wherever this man opens his opens his mouth, it is not with him, but with the corporations that continue to support and employ him. Sandilands is not a political orator, whose freedom to put forth odious opinions we must tolerate for the greater good. He is merely a bully employed in the service of profit by Austereo and occasionally by the TV networks. That is why it was so pleasing to see Holden pull their support for his show yesterday.
That’s exactly it: he’s a bully employed in the service of profit, because somehow it has been decided that bullying is edgy and hip and funny.
By seeking an audience for Sandilands, Austereo and the TV networks who very occasionally call on his … er … talents, endorse the deeper message and dangerous stupidity of his public performances. What are these underlying attitudes?
Well, they seem to be based on a Hobbesian belief that the natural human condition is short, nasty and brutish, and that success comes not from being led by the better angels of our nature, but from embracing as fully as possible a crude ugliness appealing to as large and degraded a mass audience as possible.
Part of this routine is an apparently shameless misogyny where any women who do not fawn and flutter at Sandilands’ approach, who dare to question or cross him, are belittled and subject to thinly-veiled coercion – whether credible or not. It would be interesting to ask him exactly what he meant when he threated to “hunt down” News Limited’s entertainment reporter Alison Stephenson.
More interesting, though, would be to seek from Austereo a figure for the income Sandilands generates for them with his noxious productions and what responsibility, if any, the radio network feels it should accept for the poisoning of the public mind it enables by giving him such an amplified voice. Because while Sandilands himself is a blowhard whose sins are entirely rhetorical, the continued exposure and promotion of those sins in the name of entertainment, and the service of profit, is a much greater wrongdoing. It creates an atmosphere where a slide towards violence against women, at least by some, is enabled.