Dear Tommy and Rove,
Look, we get it. You guys are Tommy Little and Rove McManus – Aussie household names, known for your comedy. You make jokes, and some are funnier than others. You’re also human, and you make mistakes. Like all of us. But I hope you really learn from this one, because on The Project last night, you went too far.
What you said was a little childish. And unkind. But more importantly, it was dangerous.
Let’s recap what happened: last night on the show, before playing a clip of mining CEO Geoff Summers being interviewed, you mocked his voice. Tommy, you said, “First, I want you to have a look at him, right. Here’s a picture. He’s tough, I reckon he looks rich, he looks mean and he’s a miner; that’s the information we know about.”
And then, as can be seen in the below footage, you both proceeded to laugh about Summers’ voice, asking the audience if they thought it sounded like a man was talking, and whether perhaps he had consumed some helium before he spoke.
You guys are much-loved media identities in this country, and very experienced. You clearly were caught up in a moment of banter with each other. But considering your veteran status, you couldn’t have been surprised by the backlash. Viewers immediately responded to your behaviour on social media, noting that The Project has made much of its anti-bullying stance recently, yet had clearly chosen to ignore their own pleas for kindness and tolerance of people’s differences.
But I’m not here to call you hypocrites. I know a lot about saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time – about not meaning to sound insensitive, despite insensitive words coming out of my mouth. I’m woman enough to admit that.
But I do need to ask you guys for a favour, because you did plan that segment. You did intend to belittle someone by joking about one of their personal characteristics. You thought it would be funny to question a man’s masculinity because his voice didn’t sound masculine enough according to your standards.