Mark Latham: Former Labor leader says domestic violence a ‘coping mechanism’ for men

Radio network Triple M has come under fire after former Labor leader Mark Latham used his podcast with the station to say men hit women as a “coping mechanism”.

Key points:

  • Former Labor leader says some men use domestic violence as a ‘coping mechanism’
  • Employer Triple M says ‘uncomfortable’ domestic violence conversations are needed
  • Online petitioners, White Ribbon, criticise Latham

 

In the 20-minute podcast posted to the Triple M website, Mr Latham took aim at Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and feminists for “demonising men” and making those who hit women “feel worse about themselves”.

Mark Latham walks down the street wearing sunglasses.

Photo: Mr Latham said Australian of the Year Rosie Batty is “causing more harm than good”. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Triple M is an official partner of domestic violence awareness charity White Ribbon, supporting White Ribbon Day when it was held on November 25 last year.

White Ribbon Australia chair John Rosewarne said Mr Latham’s comments showed “his lack of understanding and knowledge of this complex issue”.

Mr Rosewarne did not say the charity would be breaking ties with the radio station, nor did he call for Mr Latham to be sacked.

“Triple M are committed to bringing the conversation on men’s violence against women to the fore. They stand by their decision to run Mark Latham’s podcast as they believe the conversation needs to happen amongst men no matter how uncomfortable it is and the view presented,” he said.

“White Ribbon is about … men letting other men know that men’s violence against women in any form is never OK.”

Triple M’s head of network Mike Fitzpatrick said the station would continue working with the charity.

“Triple M stands side by side with White Ribbon and will continue to push conversations about domestic violence no matter how uncomfortable. This is an issue that needs to be spoken about,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“We call for all men to stand up and hold those who commit acts of violence against women and children to account.”

Latham lashed for ‘appalling misogyny’

By Friday afternoon, more than 410 supporters had signed the petition demanding Mr Latham be fired.

“Latham is free to speak, and we are equally free to be disgusted with what he says,” the petition said.

“There is no place in Australia in 2016 for this appalling misogyny.”

 

Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters criticised Mr Latham, saying most Australian men supported the anti-domestic violence movement.

“Mr Latham’s appalling comments add to the shockingly sexist start to the year, which has included a former federal Liberal junior minister and the former NSW Labor general-secretary resigning over sexual harassment allegations,” she said.

On Twitter, veteran broadcaster Tracy Spicer described his comments as “shameful”, while prominent feminist Clementine Ford described the podcast as a “toilet show”.

Comedian Wil Anderson said Mr Latham’s keys to success were to: “Be loud, terrible, unpopular and low-rating, miraculously get new job. Repeat.”

 

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