Triple Mmmm Barry Hall of shame and the Leyonhjelm scandal

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Article by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence (Meme via @M_1tch)

THE TRIPLE Mmmm Barry Hall of shame scandal has been swamped by Senator David Leyonhjelm's notorious shagging of Australia.

The Southern Cross Austereo station executives must be indebted to Leyonhjelm, whose repugnant remarks directed at Senator Hanson-Young effectively extinguished the swelling public outcry ignited by Hall's sleazy on-air comments on June 29 about a 40-year-old “rooster” doctor licking his fingers after sticking them up a pregnant woman's vagina to induce labour. Get it losers, randy humpster, rooster — finger lickin' good.

The woman he was talking about was none other than the wife of the show's co-presenter Leigh Montagna — whom I shall not name here, nor presume what she thinks about these mindless sexist gits and their group verbal gropings.


Whilst it was host Mark Howard who introduced the topic, it was Montagna who actually initiated intimate discussion about his partner, explaining the “membrane sweep ”, with the alacrity of explaining a drop punt.

Strangely, after Hall's sleazy comment Montagna, a mountain in name only, failed to take offence and censure Hall or defend his wife and her defamed doctor.

Indeed, he contributed to the tawdry episode. There was much guffawing by all. It all sounded a bit staged. Line feeding. Cheap laughs. Maybe it's just me.

Hall's comment, at worst, implied digital rape by a doctor whilst ostensibly carrying out a medical procedure to induce labour, and, further, indulging in lascivious and sexual misconduct at savouring his pregnant patient's vaginal juices/excretions for personal gratification.

The other commentators, reporter Damien Barrett and Nathan Brown, also failed to speak out or censure Hall. There was no adult, male or otherwise, in control and Howard clearly needs some remedial professional counselling, as does the show's producer.


They need some womansplaining in how to press what is known as the “dump button”. 

Given this all took place in pre-game banter, the show should have been on a seven second, or so, delay.

These loons can't be entrusted with the responsibility themselves, obviously, and sometimes regular staff don't want to bring grief to themselves by over ruling highly paid celebrities.


I mean, what do these dudes do to blood themselves up before they go on air – bite heads off chooks in male bonding ?

Hall, a former star forward, whose career was ringbarked in a litany of violent clashes and suspensions, was filling in for Brownlow medallist Chris Judd for the station's Friday night football coverage. Bad call, Triple M.

A number of media outlets have opted to not reproduce what was said. At times this is appropriate. This is not one of those times. It should be published in the public interest and for inclusion in the ongoing contentious debate about how we treat each other. We have to talk the talk. Not collude in the silence. That way the culprits can scuttle away in the dark. But of course, you have the option here not to listen to the audio, whereas the Triple M audience did not.

Now, I invite you to watch this video produced for the Andrews Government Respect Women campaign.

Respect Women: Call It Out (60sec) - YouTube

Hmmm. Triple mmm. The Triple M footy team that night, just didn't do the right thing. It's not just Hall. It's the culture.


The continuing undermining of women is accommodated by denying the general public of the gravity of the offence — and, of course, not only facilitates, but also errs in favour of, the perpetrators and not the victims. And the broadcast comments and jockstrap jocularity was not victimless. 

Statistically, the footy commentator team will know women who have been raped and digitally raped. They may be totally unaware that girls and women they know have been raped. Depending on their audience share, hundreds, if not thousands, of females listening will be victims/survivors. Boys and men too.

And yes, as we know from court cases in Australia, let alone elsewhere that there are doctors who sexually abuse and digitally rape their patients. Statistics can only identify reported cases or reflect confined research. Even hearing such lewd comments can be traumatising triggers for some.


Ergo, just a few days ago, we witnessed – and many of us felt the palpable emotion – of the survivors of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (ESPYS).

One hundred and forty-one courageous women walked onto the stage to a thundering standing ovation from the audience, just some of the hundreds of “sister survivors” of the predatory serial sex abuser.

In their Awards night coverage, ESPN reported:

Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor, was sentenced in January to 40 to 175 years in prison after seven days of impact statements from more than 150 girls and women who said he sexually abused them in what amounts to the biggest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sports.

...Sarah Klein, who identified herself as the first to be abused by Nassar, said that she and the more than 140 other survivors on the ESPYS stage "represent hundreds more who are not with us tonight. Make no mistake, we are here on this stage to present an image for the world to see: a portrait of survival, a new vision of courage."

Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again in graphic detail is not easy ... it's grueling and it's painful, but it is time," Klein said.

The courage award is given annually to those who embody the spirit of its namesake: tennis legend and longtime human rights campaigner Arthur Ashe.

Klein's speech cuts into flesh. It brought me to tears to hear yet again – as we heard so often in our Royal Commission – how often those in authority knew what was going on and did nothing. 

We do continue to sacrifice our children at the altar of preserving individual and brand reputation. And oh, yes, advertisers and sponsors.

What men say in private about even “their own” women as chattels may be one ugly loathsome thing, but what they say in a public broadcast is quite another. There is a commercial radio licence at stake. Licentious comments notwithstanding.


Increasingly, so called “locker room” smut is becoming the new abnormal, insinuating its way into programs that we know are listened to and watched by children — some of whom inevitably mimic and idolise their sports heroes, even if some of them are yesterday's heroes, and have a history of thuggish behaviour.

This from Barry Hall's Wikipedia entry:


Sam McFarlane incident

Whilst playing in a reserves game for St Kilda against North Melbourne in Round 14 1997, Hall struck Sam McFarlane, a slightly built wingman, in the jaw, breaking it in three places. McFarlane spent the next three days in hospital getting the jaw wired back together and was sidelined for ten weeks. Although McFarlane returned for the final two games of the year, he never returned to play league football again.[7]

Steven Febey incident

In the 1998 second semi-final St Kilda held the lead over Melbourne near the end of the second quarter. After being tackled by Steven Febey, Hall dropped his knees into Febey's head and after regaining his feet he slung Adem Yze to the ground. In frustration his outburst lead to an altercation with teammates Matthew Lappin and Shane Wakelin where Hall had to be restrained by his teammates and trainers. The incident resulted in a 4 match suspension and Melbourne then took control of the match and won easily, ending St Kilda's 1998 season.

Matthew Primus incident

In July 2002, while playing for Sydney, Hall was suspended for five matches after being found guilty of clawing the face of Port Adelaide ruckman Matthew Primus during a Swans loss at the SCG. Hall had been charged on video evidence with making "unreasonable and unnecessary contact to the face". Hall acknowledged he had made contact with Primus's face, but denied he had tried to eye-gouge him. "I made face contact which I regret, but it certainly looks worse than what it was" said Hall.[8]

Matt Maguire incident

After an incident involving a punch to the stomach of St Kilda's Matt Maguire in a 2005 preliminary final match, Hall was reported for a level two striking and offered a one-week suspension for a guilty plea. This suspension would have meant missing the next week's grand final. Hall's representation successfully argued that the incident was 'in play' despite the ball being 50 metres away. As a result, the charge was reduced to a level one offence which reduced the penalty to a reprimand and he went on to captain the Swans to their first premiership in 72 years, defeating the West Coast Eagles in the grand final by four points.[9]

Brent Staker incident

In an incident which shocked Sydney and West Coast fans alike, in Round 4, 2008, Hall was reported for striking West Coast Eagles defender Brent Staker.[10] Video footage from the incident indicated that contact was made with a punch to the jaw. Staker took no further part in the game, remaining off the field for the duration of the game. Later in the same game, Hall broke his wrist on the metal railing behind a soft cardboard advertising board. After the game the Match Review Panel ranked the incident as intentional, severe impact and high contact, therefore the offence was directly referred to the AFL Tribunal. He was subsequently suspended for seven games, one of the most severe punishments in the modern era by the AFL Tribunal.[11] Video footage of the incident was shown on television as far abroad as Denmark and the United States on the ESPN network.[12]

Shane Wakelin incident

Hall was handed a one match suspension for an attempted strike on Collingwood's Shane Wakelin in Round 14, 2008.[13] Sydney later announced the team would not play Hall indefinitely.[14][15] Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk later claimed that Hall's habit of hitting opposition players off the ball is a "bad habit".[16] Shane Wakelin later on admitted he had "played for a free kick".[citation needed]

Scott Thompson incident

On 22 May 2010 Hall was again the centre of attention when he was pushed over by North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson while tying his shoelace, triggering an ugly altercation between Hall and several other North Melbourne players. Hall reacted to the taunts by putting Thompson in a headlock and was subsequently reported for both wrestling and rough conduct. He was later found guilty of wrestling and fined, but not guilty of rough conduct.[17]


Ten days before the Barry Hall comments, Victoria's Labor Government introduced legislation to legally enshrine a new statutory authority, Respect Victoria that will start operating from 1 August, in keeping with Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

According to the press release:

The agency forms part of the first pillar of the Government’s primary prevention strategy, Free from Violence, and will work to address gender inequality as a root cause of family violence, provide expert advice on best practice, and hold quality assurance and accreditation functions.

It will engage in whole-of-community campaigns and activities to change the culture that allows family violence to happen in the first place.

So far, all good.

Now the State Government has been running a series of Respect Women: Call it Out advertisements.


But I don't recall Natalie Hutchins, the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, calling out Barry Hall over his comments. I stand to be corrected, in case I've missed something. Don't you just wish she'd grow some balls?

This lack of respect for women is manifest in the traditional notion that "boys will be boys". Presumably, they grow up and then "men will be men." 

Last month, community reaction to the slogan 'BOYS WILL BE BOYS' on Peter Alexander pyjamas resulted in the top being taken off the shelves — such is the growing power of consumer activism.

It would be horrid to curb risque and provocative banter from live broadcasts, but this is not about such things. This is about joking about rape. Rape is not a joke.

My thoughts are with those girls and women who have no-one to defend them, and for whom such verbal demeanings are destructive and cause accumulative injury.


The yob gene looms large in our society. The ability to kick a ball as well as kick a head in seems synonymous at times. Why does this sort of thing keep spewing out of the mouths of people who are not only media savvy but have been supposedly schooled in non-sexist behaviour by all manner of behavioural consultants and campaigns, including within the AFL ?

Sure, Triple M sacked Hall on the spot. Big deal. What about the others?

It didn't take long for one of Hall's sponsors to dump him and others to endorse his sacking.

In the advertising industry's bible, Ad News on July 5, Josh McDonnell wrote:

"The partnership that Hammersmith signed with Barry Hall was based on agreeing to uphold our values of integrity, and respect for all people regardless of gender, size, age, nationality or anything else," a spokesperson told AdNews.

Regretfully, in light of recent events, Barry’s comments are completely inconsistent with our values and we are left with no option other than to terminate our partnership immediately."

...Triple M Footy sponsor Beaumont Tiles has also shot down Hall's behaviour, backing the station's decision to fire him for the comments.

We made our disappointment clear to Triple M regarding Friday evening’s on-air incident...

AdNews has reached out to further Triple M Footy sponsors, which include, Bosch, Cbus Super, Coates Hires, Rheem, Chemist Warehouse and Bob Jane T-mart, but has since received no comment.

Hall was a long-time ambassador for Kleenex tissues and most recently was part of Optus' Get Splashy campaign, participating in its event, 'The Splashies'.

A big "Onya" award from me to McDonnell for even reporting on this aspect. Too many others didn't have the guts. Might miss out on a gig with Triple M. Gotta pay that mortgage.


Of course, thankfully the likes of Barry Hall and his cohorts do not represent all men, and it was so uplifting to learn of tradie Jakson Elfring's brave video, who like so many of us seemed overwhelmed by recent horrendous rapes and murders and trashing of women. But unlike Hall's mates, he decided to call it out.

From Bec Symons for ABC Gippsland:

In his Facebook video, which has been shared thousands of times, Mr Elfring draws the link between language used in society and the culture that contributes to violence against women.

The rape culture here in Australia is shocking," he says.

"It starts with a joke at work or it could be a text message, or something you tag your mate in on Facebook."

Becoming emotional in the video, Mr Elfring said he believes respect for women starts at home.

"Have respect for your mum, that's a good start..."

Jakson nails it for me and I rather feel he does for many of us.

If Triple M had any nous, they'd hire Jakson to do a weekly post for them.

He's clearly too intelligent to host their Footy Show. Not enough grunt.

Rhymes with... Know what I mean?

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