UPDATE: Bert and Patti talk about Matthew Newton

Last night on A Current Affair, Bert and Patti Newton talked to Tracey Grimshaw about Matthew’s drug addiction and mental illness. The full 30 minute interview can be seen on the A Current Affair website here.

When Channel 7 announced Matthew Newton as the new host of their biggest show of the year, X Factor, immediately after he left rehab, I expressed some surprise and some disappointment. Today, less than a week before the show’s premiere, Matthew Newton has been sacked from that job, admitted himself back to rehab and his fiance has taken out an AVO after he allegedly assaulted her a number of times in Australia and overseas.

News Ltd reports:

MATT Newton’s former girlfriend Rachael Taylor has applied for an apprehended violence order against the Channel 7 star, alleging she was the victim of “two unprovoked violent assaults.’ <!–

Ms Taylor alleges that “This action follows a series of gravely serious incidents, including and not limited to two unprovoked violent assaults, which (she claims) occurred on the 13th and 14th August, 2010, while Ms Taylor was in Rome.

It is understood she sustained serious injuries consistent with blows to the face and body after a public altercation between the couple in the foyer of a hotel. Sources claim police were called to the scene, but no charges were laid.


I’ve written about Matthew Newton several times here on Mamamia. Ever since the incident with his former girlfriend Brooke Satchell when he was charged with assaulting her, I have believed he is a troubled individual who should not be working in the entertainment industry until he seeks treatment for his issues. And acting is one thing but a TV host? I always thought that was a mistake.

When Channel 7 gave him the plum job as host of it’s huge new family show X-Factor, I published a piece with full permission by TV writer Andrew Mercado who wrote:

It’s such a shame because Seven is one of the nicest networks to watch and work with. But decisions like this make me feel ill at the double standards. I’m not suggesting that Matthew Newton never work in the industry again. He’s admitted to his mistakes and done something about it.

He has proved himself to be a successful actor, director and scriptwriter, particularly with his movie Three Blind Mice. Give him a job on City Homicide (although I’d prefer Seven first hire some of the cast of Hey Dad to prove there’s no hard feelings) . It’s all about timing and is Newton the most suitable choice to host an inspirational talent show for impressionable viewers or the best at getting publicity – good, bad or ugly. “

At the time, I strongly agreed. I think it was irresponsible of Channel 7 to hire someone who was, by their own admission, struggling with addiction mere days after he had completed a few weeks in rehab. Anyone with any knowledge of addiction understands that recovery and treatment is a long and complicated process. There are set-backs. And those who are newly ‘clean’ after a period of treatment are (to my understanding), advised to avoid situations of high stress that could see them relapse.

Taking on such an instense, high profile job was always going to be a huge risk for Matthew Newton when it came to maintaining his sobriety. And what about the risk Channel 7 was taking with hiring someone with a past that involved a charge for assaulting his girlfriend and holding him up as one of their biggest new stars?

News Ltd again:

Newton on the set of X Factor

Last night Channel 7 denied knowledge of the physical clash between their signing and his former girlfriend.
He has returned to a rehabilitation clinic, withdrawing from his TV host duties “on medical advice.” Newton’s manager Titus Day of 6 Degrees Management confirmed he has terminated their working relationship.


Many commenters on that first Matthew Newton post insisted I was being judgemental. That everyone makes mistakes. Why shouldn’t he get another chance? they said. Why not indeed. Well, while this is a terrible situation for all involved, I maintain that it was clear to many people that Matthew Newton’s patterns of behaviour were not going to be fixed by a few weeks in rehab and then a huge, high profile gig.

To those who will inevitably say in the comments: it’s the media’s fault, you’re making it worse by writing about it, just give him some privacy? When you sign up to be the host of a big budget TV show, you make that decision and you take that risk. You put your life into play to some degree.

This is clearly a man with a huge number of problems. My question is this: what do Channel 7 do now? What SHOULD they do?

The X Factor is being positioned for the Masterchef and Idol audience as family entertainment. Much of the show has already been filmed and he’s all over it. Will you be watching with your family?

And when will we stop enabling celebrities to behave in utterly unacceptable – and possibly criminal – ways? And rewarding them if we think they’ll bring ratings?

Where are you on this?

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