Don Burke has dismissed the accusations of sexual assault and harassment against him as being the product of a “witch hunt” in an interview with A Current Affair‘s Tracy Grimshaw.

Burke accepted the interview on the same day that a joint exposé by Fairfax and the ABC was released, detailing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct over the course of his 17-year career as host of Burke’s Backyard.

Burke opened the interview by apologising for “a number of affairs” that he had in the past and for being a “perfectionist” on the show, describing himself as a “bear with a bloody sore head“, but in regards to the actual allegations made against him, denied them strenuously.

In the interview, Burke says he is “deeply hurt and outraged at the false and defamatory claims” in the report, which was put together from interviews with more than 50 people. He denied he was guilty of the “sleazy, sexual stuff” but in his earlier statement denied having ever bullied anyone, making it somewhat unclear what he is actually apologising for:

I absolutely dispute the claims of bullying and wish to point out that Burke’s Backyard was a prime-time TV show where excellence was essential.

 

Burke also suggested that his having Asperger’s may have come into play:

I haven’t been medically diagnosed but I’ve worked it out, that’s what I’ve got. I’ve got difficulty looking anyone in the eye, I miss all their body language, I miss subtle signs like ‘back off, it’s enough’, that sort of thing.

When asked by Grimshaw if this meant that he might have have done these things without realising, he adamantly denied that was a possibility. He did the same after he said he couldn’t remember a lot of things that happened long ago, claiming that, regardless, he knows what he would say or wouldn’t say.

He laid some blame for the accusations on a “victim mentality” created by the Weinstein allegations:

I think also this whole Weinstein thing, one of the things it does is to reinforce the victim mentality in women. Not in all of them, but for a lot of the others it reinforces a bit of fear and their victim position.

You can watch the entire episode here.

Image: Channel 9