Culture

Dusty Nugget John Laws Is Being Dragged For His Sexist Interview On ‘The Project’

"He who plays the piper calls the tune" -- *excessive eye rolling emoji*

John Laws, controversial Australian radio broadcaster and fossilised distillation of a 1950s gentlemen’s club, is under fire today after an interview on The Project last night, where he confirmed he still forces his female staff to wear skirts at work. Laws, who is known for his, let’s say, “traditional” values, told The Project he refuses to be pressured by “political correctness”. Ding! That’s Crusty Old White Man bingo, folks.

Laws appeared on The Project last night for an interview with Steve Price (another old white man with Very Questionable Views On Women), and when Price asked him if he still forced his female staff to wear skirts, he replied “you bet”.

“He who plays the piper calls the tune,” Laws said, doing an excellent impression, in both looks and demeanour, of an extra from a Peter Jackson Middle Earth movie. “To me a skirt on a beautiful body is a very, very feminine thing.” Chilling stuff. I mean, I am dead, and this missive comes from my humble ghost.

“I just love women,” Laws continued, prompting at least half of the population to spontaneously combust with second-hand embarrassment, “it’s been one of my great downfalls in life”. Poor John Laws, with his totally innocent love for women. “I love to talk to them,” he continued. “I’d much rather talk to them than a bunch of blokes and I love them to look feminine.”

You cannot, unfortunately, make this stuff up. This is a real thing someone said on a national current affairs program, gang.

Yep, It’s Happening Again

Naturally, Laws is not the first powerful Australian bloke to make a sexist comment or two about the women with whom he associates in the workforce. Lest we forget Eddie McGuire’s charming comment last year, live on air, about how he’d like to drown his colleague Caroline Wilson. That was a fun one, right?

And how fondly we all remember Andrew Bolt’s strange beat poem about Linda Burney, Indigenous MP and also regular woman just trying to do her job alongside a sexist berk. Bolt described working with her thus: “It was tricky because she is gorgeous and she’s a woman and it’s very difficult for a white male to debate an Aboriginal woman and not be seen as a bully or mean”. Because goodness knows what Burney’s gender or looks have to do with co-presenting a program on the ABC about constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It does seem incredible sometimes to wonder, how have these men not learned their lessons yet? Then you remember that, even though it seems like it’s 2017, it’s actually just this kind of liminal space where we as a society never learn from our mistakes. We’re all tired, I know. But this shit just keeps happening, because Collectable War Baby Postage Stamps like John Laws are still given the space to uncritically espouse these views in our media, despite their increasing (and desperate) irrelevance.

Laws Knows What Game He’s Playing

For what it’s worth, this isn’t just a case of an old coot saying something weird and accidentally offensive. In making these comments, Laws knows exactly what he’s doing. He says these things in a place where they are broadcast as widely as possible so that the women he feels are his playthings know exactly where they are on the cultural ladder. He wants us to know we are “beautiful bodies” in skirts, how very, very feminine we are, and how much it pleases him (as if this is our only role in life).

When Price tested Laws on his “controversial” (read: bloody awful) comments, Laws simply lamented through his quivering jowls at how hard it is for him to “get away with some of the things he got away with in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s”. Dude knows what he’s doing, and he knows it’s the wrong thing. BUT HE DOES IT ANYWAY.

Obviously the internet is roasting him beyond compare, but it hardly matters when the guy gets to just rule over his kingdom of skirt-wearing female hostages like a demonically possessed king in an Isobelle Carmody novel.

Since the segment aired, several high-profile women in the media have also come out against Laws. Em Rusciano of 2Day FM called him an “irrelevant, sexist, misogynist idiot”, and Today’s Shelly Horton commented, “This is not just sexist, it’s demeaning, it’s revolting. [John Laws] should be taken off the airwaves”.

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