Louise was warned about Don Burke. When she complained, the response was crushing.

In the 1980s, Louise Langdon worked as a researcher for Don Burke’s radio and television program.

It’s a job many at the time would have labelled a dream, considering Burke’s standing as one of the most recognised and successful presenters in Australian media.

But instead, Louise says working for the gardening guru was “an endurance test in terms of his persistence in commentary about anything sexual.”

Speaking to ABC’s 7:30, as part of a major investigation with Fairfax on Burke, Louise said she was warned about the presenter’s behaviour right from the word go.

Louise Langdon ABC 7:30
Louise said the inappropriate comments and actions started almost as soon a she started working for Burke. Image via 7:30.

"I was told, before I went to meet Don, was that he was sleazy. And to be careful," she told the program.

Almost straight away, Louise was subjected to sexual harassment and assault at the hands of one of Channel Nine's most prized stars.

On this bonus episode of Out Loud, Holly, Rachel and Jessie discuss Don Burke and ask the question - what happens next?

"It started very early on when I worked with him at the radio station at 2UE," Louise said.

"The comment was, 'Did you get your rocks off last night?' Meaning, 'Did you have sex last night?' It was his way of greeting me in the morning."

Don Burke Ch 9
Image via Channel 9.

Another time, Louise alleges, she was made to watch a video that Burke had in his possession, of a woman having sex with a donkey.

"One morning at the radio station he encouraged me to look at this video. This woman having sex with a male donkey," she said.

"And I just was, was speechless. What do you do when your boss is showing you this thing?"

She also alleges her boss would regular pull or flick her bra strap, pull up her shirt to "see what colour underwear I was wearing", and test the firmness of her backside with his feet.

The most disturbing moment of all, Louise says, was when Burke joked about a young girl he was watching in a playground.

"He noticed a particularly pretty young girl and said, 'Look at her over there. You can tell she wants me. You can tell she wants me,'" Louise alleges.


"And I remember being utterly disgusted. She was eight or nine."

Almost as disturbing as her allegations against Burke were the comments she received when she reported his behaviour to senior executives at Channel Nine and Burke's Backyard.

Don Burke
Image via AAP.

"I did speak to several senior people at Burke's Backyard and there was some empathy," she said.


"There was some, 'Yes, we know that this is happening. We're really sorry this is happening but unfortunately there's not much we can do. In fact, there's nothing really we can do'."

The reasoning? Louise was told that Burke was  just "too valuable" for the network to lose. And she was just another expendable employee that could easily be replaced.

"My job was expendable and Don's wasn't," she was told.

"Don was a ratings juggernaut. He was a ratings success. He was bringing in a lot of money for the network.

"And if I wasn't able to tolerate the behaviour, then they would find somebody who would."

Don Burke
Image via AAP.

She believes the network behind the show - Channel Nine - "enabled" the presenter's behaviour by refusing to act.

"This is not OK behaviour and it has been going on for so long," she said.

"If it's accepted, if it's tolerated, then what message does that send not only to other men, but to women who want to work in the industry?"

It's a question that's been asked all over Australia in the 24 hours since the allegations against the star were made public: if his behaviour was well-known, why has he never faced the consequences?

Even David Leckie, the former CEO of the network, confirmed to 7:30 that he had received complaints about Burke's behaviour in the past.

David Leckie (L) with James Packer. Image via Getty Images.

"I've been trying to think of Harvey Weinstein-type people [in Australia] and the only one I can ever come up with is Burke," he said in a statement.

"He's a horrible, horrible, horrible man. He's a dreadful, dreadful piece of work."

The man who hired Don Burke at the Nine Network, Sam Chisholm, also described the star as a "disgrace" and a "grub".

In total, more than 50 people have made claims to Fairfax and ABC about Don Burke's behaviour, and the brave women who have publicly told their stories are hoping it will finally force a change in the Australian entertainment industry.