You’re being “hysterical”, Steve Price admonished his fellow panellist Van Badham, in a fiery exchange on the ABC’s Q&A last night. It’s the line that made jaws drop, prompted the Guardian columnist to blame her ovaries, and is making headlines everywhere today. As it should.
But it’s not the only line we need to discuss. The line that underscores what was most diabolical in Price’s reaction happened earlier.
The final audience question of the night came from a young man Tarang Chawla who explained he is an ambassador against domestic violence: A role borne out of tragedy.
His 23-year-old sister was cleaved to death by her partner last year and he wanted to hear from the panel about their views on Australia’s blokey culture, a culture in which it’s still permissible for men to joke about killing women.
He specifically referred to Eddie McGuire’s ‘joke’ on Triple M last month about drowning sports journalist Caroline Wilson and Sam Newman’s subsequent defence of the remarks.
Watch Steve Price’s controversial comments from last night’s show.
Host Tony Jones went to Price first. “I happen to know all the people you mentioned there” he said.
For a solitary moment I thought Price must know this young man’s family. He didn’t.
He knows McGuire, Wilson and Newman and spent several minutes earnestly telling this young man how “too much” was made of the comments which were clearly a joke.
It took Price several more minutes (and three panellists’ responses) to even acknowledge the personal tragedy Chawla revealed. And that is the shameful travesty that needs dissecting.
A considered and heartfelt question was posed: How will politicians and the media play a better role in bringing about long-overdue cultural shifts, so tragedies like what happened to [Chawla’s] family are not normalised?”
Inexplicably, seemingly without even drawing breath, Price made his friends – and himself by proxy – the victims in that equation. Not the 23-year-old who was stabbed to death. Not her family. Not the man standing in front of him.