entertainment

Chrissie Swan cops flack - AGAIN - for leaving her kids for I'm a Celebrity.

Chrissie Swan is a finalist in I’m A Celebrity – but she’s copping flack yet again for leaving her kids at home while filming the show.

Yesterday entertainment commentator, Peter Ford, had a go at Chrissie Swan for leaving her kids at home to be on a reality tv show.

Chrissie is currently tipped to take out the top prize in Channel Ten’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here. The show is filmed in Africa, so that’s where Chrissie currently is.

Chrissie has three children, who are at home in Australia with their father. Her youngest child is now almost two years old. Chrissie has spoken on the show about missing her son’s first day of preschool and of his hearing impairment that has left him unable to say, “Mum”.

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Author and columnist Rebecca Sparrow is very concerned about Peter Ford’s tweet about Chrissie:

It’s hard to know where to start with Ford’s incredibly petty attack. It’s cruel. It implies that she doesn’t love her children. And that’s extraordinarily out of line.

Ford’s comments are also deeply sexist. This question would never have been asked of her male co-stars on I’m A Celebrity, many of whom have children, like Freddie Flintoff and Andrew Daddo.

It’s also absolutely wrong. In the event Chrissie wins I’m A Celebrity it will say nothing about our society – except perhaps that we are entertained and engaged by funny, authentic women on our tv screens. The only thing about this whole incident that reflects poorly on our society is this the fact that Peter Ford thought that it was appropriate to send this tweet, not once but twice.

You know what else? If this isn’t a personal attack on Chrissie Swan (as Peter Ford claims) then what exactly is he saying?  The strong implication is that he believes that mothers should always be staying at home with their kids. A standard he does not apply to fathers. This is the kind of sexist crap that makes my spirit wilt. It’s 2015 and we’re still having these conversations …”

Mamamia spoke to Peter Ford and asked him about these issues and whether his tweet was sexist. Currently working overseas and having received a barrage of criticism and abuse on Twitter, Ford was very open and frank about what motivated the tweet, whether he has any regrets and whether he has a personal issue with Chrissie Swan.

Entertainment reporter, Peter Ford.

This is what he had to say:

On whether the tweet was sexist:

That’s a fair criticism. But I don’t think any of them [the male I’m a Celeb participants] have one year olds and I don’t think we’ve seen them on tv crying about how much they are missing their children and want to leave – and she’s been free to leave since the day she arrived.

The point is, Chrissie does put her kids out there. It’s a part of her act. She talks about them and writes about them all the time. So they’re up for public discussion.

On the fact that being a tv personality is her job and she’s just going away to work:

Absolutely. But she’s still chasing fame. She’s gone into the jungle presumably to make a lot of money – there’s no shame in that.

I’m not criticising her. She can do what she wants. But I would go and clean toilets before I left a one year old baby. But that’s me. What she does is entirely her own business.

I have no interest in Chrissie Swan whatsoever. But she signed up to be on a reality tv show. And when you go on a reality tv show, judgement is part of it. Whether it is MRK or the Kardashians, you are there to be judged. It is part of what happens.

On whether talking about Chrissie’s kids is mean and crosses a line:

Not at all. She puts her kids out there. It’s part of her act… I’m not bringing her kids into the discussion. All I’m saying is: I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure why it’s so terrible; that I’m not allowed to say that. I’m not passing judgement on her; I’m passing judgement on me: I couldn’t do it.

On whether Chrissie’s children’s father is entirely capable of parenting her kids:

I have no doubt. I have never suggested for one second otherwise. I have no doubt that the children are perfectly cared for.

I never said for one minute that she’s a bad mother. On several occasions on Twitter I said that I’m sure she’s a terrific mother when people tried to provoke me.

What I did say, and I don’t back away from it, is that I personally don’t know how you can do that. I don’t know how you could leave a one year old baby and go to the jungle and have no contact with the baby for eight weeks. That’s not a criticism of her. That’s a criticism of me. I clearly don’t have those resources, I’m too neurotic or obviously things that she isn’t that allows her to do it.

On the reaction of women to his Tweet:

It’s fair enough to have that reaction. That’s what Twitter is about. If you dish it out, you’ve got to cop it back. But when there’s a lynch mob, you find yourself suddenly being the poster boy for every woman who has been badly done by by a bloke. Every woman who has at some point has been judged or shamed suddenly want to take it out on you.

That becomes uncomfortable. I’ve had a few hundred people tweet me. I’d say 70% of them have been abusive and foul-mouthed. Many of the women who are moaning and groaning probably have good reasons to do so. I’m not sure why I’m the one who has to cop it.

On whether rewarding Chrissie is a “comment on our society”.

I should have put a question mark on that. It was a teaser. I do think it is interesting that times have changed. That a woman can go off and do a job. That’s not being critical. That’s just about how the world has changed. For better or for worse. I don’t know why this has turned into a man hating thing.

I’m not passing any judgement. I couldn’t go and leave my dogs for eight weeks. But that’s me.

On whether he has a problem with Chrissie Swan:

I’m not a fan but there’s no legislation that says everybody has to be a fan of Chrissie Swan. She makes for good copy, she’s very interesting and she obviously has a very loyal and aggressive fan base but I’ve never met the woman.

If you’re in the public eye and you share your life in the way that she does, she writes very personal columns. She is putting herself out there. You can’t expect everything that comes back at you to be wonderful when that’s what you do.

On why he sent the tweet:

My work is primarily on radio. Several times a day, I will often put out a teaser line. A mini-grenade. I usually tag it off with “Next hour on whatever station.” Or “coming up tomorrow, across Australia”. Or something like that. It’s purely hype. I use Twitter for free publicity.

When I sent out that tweet, I didn’t have the space to put “Coming up tomorrow across Australia”. It was purely a hype thing. I stand by that. I’m not backing away from what I said.

On whether he regrets sending the tweet:

I regret not putting a question mark on it. No, I think it’s a totally valid discussion point. I’m not sure why people aren’t allowed to discuss it.

Maybe the answer to that question (if I’d put a question mark on it) is a positive one. That the world is such that women can go off and do that. And then men are capable in many cases of running the household and looking after the kids. Why is it automatically interpreted that the answer is going to be a negative one? Or that the question is a sexist one. They’re just frightbats reacting.

What do you think? Was the tweet sexist and out of line, or was Ford asking a fair question about our society’s expectations?

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