Big Issues

Kyle Sandilands Is A National Embarrassment

kyle sandilands

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Kyle Sandilands has yet again proven why he shouldn’t have the enormous platform he does. On The Kyle & Jackie O Show, the “shock jock” spoke grotesquely about an intersex TikToker from America, Sydney Bean, who was born without a vagina. 

“This chick in America, in Idaho, she was born without a vaginal opening, poor bitch,” Kyle said, live on air to an audience of 767,000 listeners. “She didn’t realise she didn’t have a vagina until she was 17. She had a pisshole obviously.” 

He continued, “She’s like a Barbie doll this chick.” 

Jackie O later added, “I’m sure they can make a hole for her though.” 

When Jackie O mentioned that she never really put anything in “that hole” until she had her period, Kyle asked if she, and the other female staff present, “ever put anything in there”. When they said no, Kyle asked, “Don’t you girls use it like a pocket?” 

Here we have a 52-year-old man asking if women “put anything” in their vaginas or used it as a “pocket” when they were minors. Awesome. 

How Did Sydney Bean Respond To Kyle’s Comments? 

Sydney had a microperforate hymen, which is when the hymen almost completely covers the opening to the vagina. She’s made countless TikToks explaining her condition, the surgery she undertook to address it, and trying to be an educational figure for the intersex community. In a previous video, Sydney said it bothered her that people assumed she had male organs as it’s a typical stereotype that intersex people must have reproductive organs from the opposite sex. 

After the show, Sydney made a series of videos on TikTok calling out Kyle Sandilands for how he spoke about her body. She said she agreed to speak to Kyle and Jackie O after producers told her they had already talked about her. 

The comments on Sydney’s first video, which featured the clips from the radio show, were mixed. Many people were quick to defend Sydney, saying how “fucking disgusting” it is that Kyle is speaking about “little girls using their vaginas ‘as a pocket’”. Sydney replied to the comment with another video questioning how Kyle was allowed to speak like that on air and to other employees. 

Others criticised Sydney for going on the show in the first place as many Australians know the reputation that Kyle has. But Sydney is from America so how was she to know who Kyle was? “I’ve actually worked with Triple J before and they were lovely!” she said, replying to a different comment. “I thought KIIS would be like that.”

Other Australians found themselves apologising for Kyle. “Don’t go on the Kyle and Jackie O show, they are so vile and an embarrassment to our country. Sorry in advance,” one commenter wrote. Another said, “As an Australian, Kyle Sandilands is the worst human. The Kyle & Jackie O show is horrible. I would prefer to burn my ears off than listen to them.” 

In a third video, Sydney explained her reasoning for going on the show despite how the hosts had spoken about her. “I still decided to go on there because I thought if they have a platform that is built on ignorance, what better an audience than to speak to?” she said. “These are the people that I want to understand that intersex people are real people.” She added that she felt “pressured into sharing more than I would have liked to. There’s like an overwhelming pressure to be explicit on that show and they kind of dig at you… I will say, they were far more respectful to my face than they were behind my back”.

How Does Kyle Sandilands Evade Accountability?

You might be wondering how Kyle Sandilands is allowed to say such inflammatory things without real consequence. Earlier this year the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Kyle breached decency rules after calling monkeypox the “big gay disease”, claiming that “it’s only the gays getting it”. He also said that he wasn’t letting “any gays” near his baby as a result. The ACMA found that the comments were offensive to gay men and not in line with the Commercial Radio Code of Practice and as a result imply that gay men “were not deserving of sympathy or compassion”. 

In 2021, the ACMA found Kyle breached decency codes after referring to the Paralympics as “the Special Olympics” and saying blind soccer players were “throwing themselves on the ground like sausages to block the ball”. When a News Corp story ran comments from Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John calling Kyle “abhorrent and ableist”, Kyle said the article was trying to make him “sound like I’m very anti anyone with a handicap”. 

Then in 2022, he called his colleagues “losers”, “flops”, and “spazzes”. Kyle apologised but said he’ll never change for the “woke world”. Kyle called the Paralympics ruling — handed down 18 months later — “bullshit” and complained about censorship, people being too sensitive, and being the only one who says what others are thinking. 

But this is the game Kyle plays. He makes horrific comments and then, when he’s called out for it, complains about being cancelled and “wokeness”. He’s smart to do so because any real attempt to hold him accountable will be seen as “overly sensitive” or trying to peddle cancel culture (which doesn’t exist for powerful men, by the way). Kyle knows better than most that no matter what he says, with or without apology, he will remain in a position of power. That’s because we let him. We gave him the platform and we keep him there. His radio show is the top ranked in the country. He has a three-year contract worth $5 million per year. He is being paid “over a million” dollars for judging Australian Idol

He’s built a career off of being vile and there’s clearly no point to stopping now. That’s why he’s popular. And even if we complain about him by, say, writing an article, it only works in his favour. A Yahoo! article, last updated in October 2023, lists Kyle and Jackie O’s “most controversial” moments over the years. It includes the time he questioned a teen abuse survivor about her sex life on air in 2009, plus the time he told Magda Szubanski she’d lose weight if she were in a “concentration camp”, plus the time he said he’d “hunt” a female journalist down after she reported the radio show’s poor ratings. The Yahoo! article abruptly ends with a “Learning from their mistakes” section. Apparently, Kyle “seemed” to realise the harm his comments caused… in 2020. What about everything that’s happened since then? How does Kyle continue to evade current controversy? 

An AFR puff piece profile of Kyle, also from October 2023, goes to great lengths to paint a picture of the radio “star” as an elusive figure who “thrives in the cancel culture era”. Remember what I said about cancel culture? I don’t think someone who has been “cancelled” would have a feature-length article written about him, much less one that humanises him against the backdrop of his controversies and portrays him as some sort of god walking amongst men. Someone who is “cancelled” wouldn’t have an incredibly strange relationship with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese or have the PM attend their wedding and happily hold their child for photos. 

Of course, all of this works in Kyle’s favour. The controversies and genuine criticism pile up, “cancel culture” is invoked, and his profile only rises. This is what he wants. He knows that we feed into it. Like a high school bully, all he needs is a reaction, which motivates him to continue to bully others. Kyle wants us to be upset about what he says to prove his point and push things further. He will probably love this article. But that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to hold him to some form of accountability or address the damaging things he says. Articles like this one won’t tear him off his seemingly untouchable mantle, but they can hopefully ask Australia to consider why we allow “shock jocks” like him to “thrive”.

Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on Instagram or on X.

Image: Getty