Culture

“It Makes Me Sick”: Alex Dyson Made A Big Stand Against Men Like Eddie McGuire On Triple J

"It's bullshit. It's absolute crap."

After being overlooked for close to a week, some on-air jokes made about drowning a female AFL journalist caused serious concern over the weekend and we’re now in another nation-wide debate about Eddie McGuire. 

The long-time Triple M host has dismissed claims his comments trivialised violence against women (the same week as AFL initiatives to raise awareness about family violence) and issued a standard non-apology. “[I’m] really disappointed that these comments have led to these feelings from people,” he said. “I apologise and retract them in the spirit of what we’re trying to achieve, which is to look after women and children in our community.”

Predictably, this hasn’t been taken well. Caroline Wilson, the award-winning journalist who was the target of the ‘joke’, has rejected the apology outright. “I don’t accept that it was playful banter,” she said on 3AW this morning. “It’s like casual racism; casual violent language might be meant as a joke, but I wonder how many times we have to draw this line in the sand.”

In reporting all this on triple j this morning, breakfast co-host Alex Dyson echoed Wilson’s comments. “I really don’t like the ‘it’s your fault for misconstruing it’ style of defence,” he said. “And it’s far too common — after doing something terrible, [men often make] the other person feel bad. I’m actually very upset. It makes me sick.”

Taking things one step further, he then launched into a passionate statement about a broader culture of harassment and abuse women have to deal with — one which is ultimately propagated by men like McGuire, whether they know it or not.

“I’ve talked to so many girls that I care about over the years who, in the past, have been very upset about things guys have done to them. It makes me very, very angry. That person is just around at house parties and they have to sit there — suddenly the burden of keeping the secret is on them.

“They don’t want to bring this guy into disrepute and ruin his reputation, like it’s their fault for bringing it up. Well, that’s bullshit. That’s absolute crap. Deflecting little things doesn’t work in our society at all. Even if you’re making little jokes or doing things as crummy as actually assaulting people, you should stop being so cowardly and own up to things. Try and become a better person; that’s the strongest thing you could do.”

Dyson’s comments are especially pointed when you consider the fact Wilson didn’t bring up the issue herself. While discussing the incident this morning, she stated she became aware of it the night after it took place and “wasn’t happy” about what had been said. Though she doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have an obligation to call this out herself, the only reason anyone is talking about it now is because freelance sports journalist Erin Riley wrote about the incident on her blog a full five days later. It could have easily been overlooked completely.

Jessica Rowe raised this point on Studio 10 this morning. “It is time that people call [Eddie McGuire] out,” she said. “He is someone who is a protected species. Because he is a Melbourne identity, he can constantly say these sorts of inappropriate things and then say, ‘oh I was only joking’.”

“If we think this is appropriate behaviour, heaven help us. I’m so sick of these kind of posturing blokes who think they can get away with stuff because they think it’s funny. It’s not funny and there are a lot of women who are sick and tired of being belittled and undermined.”