On Monday morning, Fairfax Media published the results of a joint investigation with ABC detailing dozens of allegations of sexual harassment against legendary television personality, Don Burke.
On Monday evening, on prime time television, the 70-year-old had a chance to defend himself.
No one was expecting an apology or admission – the former host of Channel Nine ratings juggernaut Burke’s Backyard had vehemently denied the allegations to Fairfax Media’s Kate McClymont, saying the report was “unfair and unworthy journalism” from a “small clique of malcontents”.
On this bonus episode of Out Loud, Holly, Rachel and Jessie discuss Don Burke and ask the question – what happens next?
So when it came time to rebut the accusations of that clique – more than 50 people altogether, according to Fairfax – he offered A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw the following the excuses.
1. “I have Asperger’s.”
“I haven’t been medically diagnosed but I’ve worked it out, that that’s what I’ve got. And what it is… and it’s a terrible failing. I can look at a lens, but I have real difficult looking anyone in the eye. That’s a typical thing,” he said.
“I miss all their body language and often the subtle signs that people give to you, like ‘back off, that’s enough’. I don’t see that. I suffer from a terrible problem with that, of not seeing. No one can understand how you can’t see it, but you don’t.”
Questioned whether he then may in fact be “guilty of these things”, he responded, “No. Absolutely not. What I’ve defended as all the words that I didn’t say and all the rest of it, I’m quite certain of all of that.”
2. “That is up to the people of Australia.”
“I want to say to the people of Australia that this is their chance to judge. This is my story, make up your mind if I am the most evil person who has ever lived.
“That is your decision.”
3. “It’s 30 years ago.”
“A lot of this was 30 years ago. Who remembers what happens 30 years ago? What I know is that I know what I will say and what I will not say. I am quite confident in all of that.