If Dermott Brereton and Ricky Nixon make dickheads of themselves and no journalists report it, will people stop caring about what they have to say?

I don’t know the answer to this question.

On the one hand, I believe we should call out sexism when we see/hear it.

On the other hand, they both clearly love the attention so perhaps we shouldn’t give it to them. After all, can you imagine how pissed off Kyle Sandilands would be if everyone stopped paying attention to him?

I’m writing about this: ‘I don’t do charity like that!’: Brereton under fire over sexist Facebook taunts:

Former AFL star Dermott Brereton insists he has the utmost respect for women despite sexually taunting an Age journalist on a publicly accessible Facebook page.

(I didn’t get a screengrab of it, but it was the main image on theage.com.au until Kevin Rudd quit as Foreign Minister from the safety of the US, in an announcement perfectly timed for the nightly news. Cynical, moi?)

Now, given the reason why most Australians would know the name Ricky Nixon, it was clear before this story that he has a problem with his judgement. And it’s not the first time Brereton has been in trouble for his comments about women. But what do we achieve by making this a Big Story when neither takes it seriously? And when it doesn’t seem to hurt their careers all that much. Sure, Nixon has had his agent accreditation suspended, but since he’s charging $1500 a head to watch a football game with him (and it was Suzanne Carbone’s column mocking him for this that brought on the comments from Nixon and Brereton), it’s pretty likely that people will pay it. He still has some influence.

I’m not suggesting we should ignore pigheaded comments by (vaguely) public figures, but I wonder if there’s a better way of dealing with it that might actually make them understand why comments like this are not cool.

Because the thing that makes me uneasy about the way this story is reported is that there are a lot of words repeating their obnoxious views, but only a few words directly saying their comments are wrong.

After all, if the story really was calling them on their terrible attitude towards women, it would start with the comments from AFL spokesman Patrick Keane that “From our point of view we absolutely don’t condone any such behaviour”, rather than “Brereton insists he has the utmost respect for women”. Keane’s comments are right at the very bottom. Many people wouldn’t have read that far.

So what we end up with – and sure, I’m contributing to this by blogging about it but I don’t know what else to do and besides, I’m not a major news website – is that we reinforce Brereton and Nixon’s world view that what they say is newsworthy and any repercussions will be short-lived.

I don’t have an answer for the question I posed in the heading. Yes, we should call out sexism. But I’m not convinced that reporting the sexist rubbish – verbatim and largely unchallenged – of a couple of idiots who probably thought they were having a private conversation, does anything more than give them a platform for their attitudes.

12 responses to “If Dermott Brereton and Ricky Nixon make dickheads of themselves and no journalists report it, will people stop caring about what they have to say?

  1. Who cares what Ricky Nixon says first and foremost. As for Dermott I don’t know a whole lot about him although I do know that Eddie Everywhere celebrates his drunken escapades with tales of heroic drinking sessions leading to public urination etc. Just a couple of meatheads really and to answer your question: I think so.

    • What a role model
      “drunken urinating episodes” that’s disgusting and no children should take him as a role model. Bad one at that

  2. I think it’s better to report it. We have to keep having the conversation about what is unacceptable misogyny over and over, because we will go backwards if we don’t. The comment section on that article will be full of people minimising the harm and sharing more of the same attitude: proof that feminism is necessary and we shouldn’t stop.

  3. I think there was also a degree of what they Age saw as ‘loyalty’, in that it was their reporter copping it from two boofheads. One or more reporters probably saw it as their duty to flag the conduct of the two dickheads.

  4. I have become less and less a fan of the “deny it oxygen and it will extinguish naturally” strategy when it comes to sexism, because the people who think that way will just assume everyone agrees with them. It needs to be challenge, challenge, challenge, until it really does become unacceptable. Having said that, there’s no point unless it’s a genuine critique, which this isn’t. How about leading with “DB has failed to follow through on his professed respect for women, sexually taunting an Age journalist…”

    • Yes, that’s my feeling about it, too. It won’t go away if we ignore it. But I feel that the way the story was reported is hardly going to make them realise they’re in the wrong.

    • No doubt … The unstylish boofhead bogan will say anything to pull himself out of hot water…. His road rages with females and nasty name calling proves he is a sexiest creature thriving to get any form of attention . Dermott is a wolf disguised as a sheep!

  5. Boofhead1 and 2 are never going to see the errors of their ways. The way the story was reported does open up discussion for other people on the subject “is hatred of women acceptable social behaviour?” and “if you currently listen to B1 on Foxtel, should you stop?”
    I thought the journalist balanced the story well.

  6. Pingback: The Forty-Sixth Down Under Feminists Carnival « Zero at the Bone

  7. interesting is the comments made by Dermott in regards to his utmost respect for women…. His behavior towards women appears to be totally the opposite.
    Desperation and low self esteem clearly are the reason why such comments are made.
    It is sexism in its finest form.
    Disturbing to know that one can get away it .

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