In cars and homes across Sydney this morning, talk-back radio was sizzling with indignation about Salim Mehajer.
It’s not surprising. Last night, the former NSW council politician and property developer was shown on national television threatening to rape his in-laws.
The screen was practically bathed in spittle as Mehajer repeatedly called his wife Aysha Learmonth a slut and wished her dead. Over and over.
So you might think that the talk-back callers would be condemning Salim and expressing sympathy for the woman who, in July, took out an AVO against him.
“He’s a good bloke,” said at least two callers on The Kyle and Jackie O show. “No-one talks about all the good things he does, they just jump on anything bad.”
Salim Mehajer is not a good bloke. That might have been in dispute a few days ago. After a wedding that shut down a suburb and a rolling litany of tabloid-titillating small-time scandals, it would have been possible to see him as a disturbing but comical narcissist. A side-show.
Not anymore. Not after this.
Salim Mehajer is not a good bloke. For him, the jig is now up.
All thanks to a leak. A private video being sent to a third party without his knowledge, certainly against his will.
Mehajer filmed himself making vile threats to his wife. He sent the video to her. It ended up on A Current Affair. Any argument about his character is now redundant.
Before another leak, it was also possible – tricky, but feasible – to dismiss Johnny Depp as a volatile, boozy “bad-boy” past his prime.
Then we saw him scrawling on a mirror in blood and pelting wine bottles at his wife’s head and we realised: Oh.
When your abuse is playing out in pixels on a smartphone, there’s no more “he said, she said”. There’s evidence.
And when it comes to accusations of violence against women, that’s what – unfortunately – the public demands.
For a woman in an abusive relationship, power is what she does not have.