The fallout from Salim Mehajer’s obscene rant leaked to A Current Affair has been intense. It’s shocking, it’s disturbing, and it’s abundantly clear that this man is not mentally sound to be a leader or a husband.
But what we’ve all been waiting for is for someone to publicly call out Mehajer’s behaviour for what it really is: domestic abuse. And this morning, Ben Fordham did just that.
Sadly, the dialogue surrounding the leaked footage has been murky. Whilst the majority have thrown their support behind wife Aysha and her safety, there is still sentiment that Mehajer’s actions came from love. You know, just a passionate guy losing his cool about his wife. He didn’t mean it, right? He was just angry. He still loves her.
This kind of dangerous perspective is far from a new issue. Domestic violence continues to be perpetrated by those who think verbal or physical abuse is born from a place of passion, that hitting or screaming at your partner is because you love them is somehow excusable.
How important it was, therefore, to hear a male voice this morning denounce Mehajer’s actions and call them out for what they really are.
On this morning’s segment on the Today show, Ben Fordham and Mamamia’s Jo Abi discussed the disturbing footage, and the even more disturbing concept that anyone could continue to support Mehajer.
“He’s gone out of his way to cultivate this image, that he’s a smooth operator, that he’s a romantic – the effort that he went to for this wedding he’s put together when he married his bride Aysha,” pointed out Ben.
Ben went on to note that well before the leaked footage was made public, Mehajer was exhibiting controlling and threatening behaviour towards his wife.
"Then there was this thing a month or so ago where he said 'Til death do us part' on Twitter," said Ben. "Now, I know that's part of the wedding vows, but it's also something that I think can be perceived as a bit of a threat - to say, 'we'll only be apart if someone dies in this relationship'."
For Ben, the proof is in the pudding with the shocking video.
"Now there we have it, on video," he said, "recorded by the lunatic himself. He is an absolute grub, and a guy that threatens the life of his wife, and threatens to rape her parents, is deranged lunatic and a grub."
Listen: Mia Freedman interviews Ben Fordham on No Filter about leaving the Today show, becoming a dad and escaping conviction of 2 years jail time after a hidden camera report. Post continues below.
For co-host Jo Abi, the importance of the footage lay beyond exposing his behaviour - it was an important lesson for younger Australians who needed to learn what domestic abuse really is.
Jo decided to allow her young son to watch the footage with her to exemplify what kind of behaviour is not acceptable towards women.
"My twelve year old son accidentally watched it with me last night - we were doing homework in front of the TV. It came on, he watched it, we were both incredibly shocked. My first instinct was to turn it off, but I thought, nope. Teaching moment," said Jo.