Female Sports Journos Are Calling Out Chris Gayle As “A Repeat Offender” Who “Humiliates” Women
"He's done it before. He's done it to me, he's done it to several female journos. He does it constantly, and he's done it over several years."
The sexist comments Melbourne Renegades cricketer made to Channel Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin during a BBL broadcast last night are beginning to generate some pretty heavy fallout. Gayle himself tried to downplay the seriousness of his conduct in a brief media interview this morning, calling his comments “a simple joke” that was “blown out of proportion”.
But if he thought that would be the end of the matter, he didn’t reckon with the numerous other female journalists who’ve taken exception to his behaviour over the years. A steadily-growing number of sports journos, including the Canberra Times’ Fleta Page, ABC NewsRadio’s Debbie Spillane and FOX Sports reporter Neroli Meadows, have publicly challenged Gayle’s actions, with many recounting similar instances of Gayle’s inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour towards them.
I was sent to interview Chris Gayle a couple of years ago. He said no to the interview before hitting on me. Dickhead is his default mode.
— Fleta Page (@FletaTheTweeter) January 4, 2016
Meadows joined Melbourne’s 3AW earlier today to discuss the controversy and the kind of treatment female sporting journos regularly experience in a heavily male-dominated industry. She immediately called Gayle out for his behaviour, claiming he’s a “repeat offender” who has an established pattern of humiliating and belittling female journalists.
“I knew immediately the moment that he got out, and knowing that Mel was on the boundary, that he was going to do what he did. I had no hesitation in knowing that he was going to do that, because he’s done it before,” Meadows said.
“He’s done it to me, he’s done it to several female journos. It’s not okay, it’s poor behaviour, she’s just trying to do her job. She’s a well-respected journalist and he went out to humiliate her and be one of the boys and get a reaction from people.”
“He’s a repeat offender, and he does it purely to humiliate that person in that public arena. He does it constantly, and he’s done it over several years. You can say that Chris Gayle will never change. That’s fine, he probably won’t, but what should change is the reaction to what Chris Gayle does. It’s not funny, it’s just not.”
Not clever. Not funny. Not original. How about just let a fine broadcaster do her job. — Neroli Meadows (@Neroli_M_FOX) January 4, 2016
Meadows also had some words for Gayle’s defenders, arguing that highly-publicised incidents like this constitute only a fraction of the harassment and contempt female sports journos have to put up with.
“I know that people will hear me and think that I’m being a whinging female, but the thing is stuff like this happens ten times a day when you’re in a male-dominated industry and people just need to trust us, that it’s not okay. When we say something like ‘this is offensive’, just hear it rather than saying ‘oh shut up, get over it, you’re being too serious, take it as a joke’.
“If someone pokes you in the arm a hundred times a day, every day that you are at work, guess what? At some point you’re going to react.”
It isn’t the first time McLaughlin’s been publicly sleazed on by a sportsman while she’s been trying to do her job. Trinidadian cricketer Dwayne Bravo finished a January 2014 live-cross interview with a “special message” to “beautiful Mel,” who was sitting on the panel. In 2012, Socceroo Tim Cahill started a post-match interview with an unasked-for kiss on the cheek.
Nor is it the first recorded instance of Gayle asking female reporters inappropriate questions, as this interview dug up by BuzzFeed Australia reporter Mark di Stefano can attest:
In 2014 a female reporter asked Chris Gayle about the “feel of the pitch”. He replied: “I haven’t touched yours yet” https://t.co/A5SDwXIwGj
— Mark Di Stefano (@MarkDiStef) January 4, 2016