Joe Hildebrand’s Ian Thorpe Tweets Prove He’s Still a Bit of a Tool

The internet is a series of tubes used by Joe Hildebrand to deliver lulz and questionable opinions directly to the masses, and last night, he most certainly did not disappoint. When the rest of Australia was watching Ian Thorpe discuss the tough time he had as a closeted gay athlete in the public eye, Hildebrand was honing his gag-writing skills.

His Tweet could be described as “ill-timed” and “a tad bit insensitive”, due to the fact that, at that very moment, Thorpe was talking about the years he spent bottling up his rage at the people who lobbed homophobic insults his way and called him a faggot on the street, fearful that his secret would be exposed if he did anything in response.
Hildebrand was echoing the sentiment, held by some, that it was unnecessary for Thorpe to come out, because everyone “knew” anyway. While that’s a shitty thing to say for a number of reasons, Brendan Maclean put it in the plainest terms, the implication being that it’s sly jokes and asides like Hildebrand’s that kept Thorpe fearful and in the closet for so long. 
The point of last night’s interview wasn’t what Joe Hildebrand or anyone else “knew” or suspected about Ian Thorpe – it was about Thorpe coming to terms with himself. Realising that he’d maybe put his foot in his mouth, but unwilling to back down gracefully, Joe proceeded to stamp around a bit and throw his toys all over the room.

This happened:

Then this:

Then this:

The line between ‘deliberate attention seeker’ and ‘dickhead’ is a fine one, that Hildebrand skates on quite a regular basis, so this latest Twitter spasm is really nothing out of the ordinary. It’s unfortunate, however, that he chose to act like such a gonad in response to Thorpe’s honest and profound story.

The interview itself was a bit of a tear-jerker – we live-blogged it here, but Thorpe spoke about the years he wasted in the closet when he now feels he could have been living his life openly, and about the shame he felt at keeping his sexuality a secret when all he wanted to do was make his family and his nation proud.

“I heard a lot of homophobic things, I was subjected to homophobic insults in the street,” he said of his experiences over the years. “People would call me a faggot and a poof.” He said he had to “manage” himself, not starting fights and getting in the papers, and that if he’d had the chance to “deck” all those people, he’d be in jail right now.

At least, in the wake of his interview, Thorpe seems to be in a good place. When the fuss from this latest tirade dies down, Hildebrand will have learned nothing from this experience.

Image via Twitter