Duncan Storrar has had enough.
Over the past week he’s been hailed a national hero and vilified in the press over his criminal record and troubled family situation.
All because he asked a question on Q&A.
The Geelong father-of-two ended up on suicide watch as the pressure from the public scrutiny pressed down on him and his family.
Now, Storrar has responded to the furore, revealing to ABC’s Media Watch he’s been in hiding since his personal life began being mercilessly dissected by the press.
“If a person shows the powers to be [the] out of touch people that they are, they will be dropped, probed and attacked in any way with no thought to the mental well-being of their children,” he said in a statement.
He said his job prospects had been ruined because his life and “every discrepancy in it” had now been published online.
He also questioned whether News Corp, who were behind several relentless attempts to discredit him, had given any thought to his mental health or the mental health of his ex-partner and daughters.
The personal cost for Duncan has undoubtedly been enormous and a friend of the Storrar family told Mamamia he was “extremely fragile” after the media beat him “into a pulp”.
“I know Duncan isn’t perfect, I know that some of his issues come from his own life choices, some from mental illness and some from issues that I won’t go into,” she said.
“But he doesn’t deserve to be pushed so far that he sees his death as the only way to get the rumour, bullying and innuendo to stop.”
She said tactics of “bullying and character assassination” were being used to tried and discredit a legitimate question facing millions of Australians.
“Millions of Aussies who are too scared to stand up and try to show what life is like for those with low incomes. Duncan was brave enough to do that, and where did that get him?
“I can tell you where. Duncan is currently under suicide watch. He has been berated and belittled into feeling like meaningless, worthless scum.”
The question, which started it all:
The friend said Storrar’s elderly mother was “beyond distressed” her son was being pushed to thoughts of self harm.
“Duncan’s mum has already buried one son. She is at her absolute wits end that she is facing burying another,” she said.
Storrar says he wants people to stop talking about him, and instead focus on the issues he raised with his original question.
“There are a whole class of people out there, yes we might have records, yes we might not be perfect but society has forgotten us,” Storrar told Media Watch.
“Q&A is the only place where people like me can ask questions of our leaders and policy makers… We don’t have any other contact with these people and as such is the most important part of democracy I have available to me.
“Thank you Australia for all your support, I didn’t want this.”
He also said the money he’s received from a Go Fund Me page set up to “help Duncan buy a toaster” that raised over $60,000 will go into a trust to pay for his kids’ education and to charity.
You can watch the full episode of Media Watch here.