You may have noticed some drama blowing up on social media last night involving the podcasters behind So Dramatic! and Life Uncut and designer Camilla Franks.
To help unpack what went down, here’s an explainer on the events that led up to the social media scrap, plus the ensuing statements from Camilla Franks, So Dramatic!’s Megan Pustetto and Life Uncut’s Brittany Hockley and Laura Byrne.
The Australian Fashion Week incident
The closing show at last month’s Australian Fashion Week was met with backlash as Paralympian Rheed McCracken struggled to make his way down the runway in his wheelchair due to decorative streamers on the runway.
Megan was among many online critics who called out Camilla Franks and P.E. Nation’s Pip Edwards for allowing their runway to be inaccessible for models who use wheelchairs.
Camilla responded to a post shared by So Dramatic!, stating that she was one of 18 designers involved in the show with “models inclusive of shape, gender, size, age, ability” and that the staging itself was “an external production decision that [the designers] were not a part of.”
So Dramatic!’s account gets canned by Instagram
The almighty So Dramatic! Instagram page was then scrubbed from Instagram.
In a post shared to her new profile, Megan claims that Instagram emailed her, informing her that her account was removed “because of the Camilla post.”
Camilla is interviewed by Life Uncut
Days later, the designer at the centre of it all, Camilla Franks, stopped by Life Uncut for an interview. She promoted the episode with a post on Instagram where she called out an unnamed podcaster.
In Camilla’s post, she wrote: “Your long-day lockdown prayers are answered! Mills sat down with the warm, articulate and effervescent @brittany_hockley and @ladyandacat and covered some ground in their @lifeuncutpodcast – including the closing show of Australian Fashion Week, and the rise of trolling podcasters & social accounts that prey on social causes to mislead and incite their listeners, in a bid for vanity headlines.”
She added, “We stand in support of the Online Safety Bill passed in June, that allows the eSafety Commissioner to order the removal of content and blocking of sites that are deemed to constitute online abuse, image-based abuse and harmful online content, with a 24 hour time limit, while increasing jail sentences for digital harassment.”
So Dramatic! responds to the post that was seemingly aimed at her
So Dramatic! host Megan Pustetto responded on her Instagram Story, writing: “So anyone who calls out ableism and racism is a troll now? ‘That prey on social causes to misled.’ ??? (Spreading awareness about the disable community is misleading?)”
She added, “Shame on Life Uncut for letting this woman silence minority groups and spread her entitled and privileged hate for anyone she deems beneath her.
“Anyone ignoring her shitty behaviour for a free kaftan is just as shitty.”
Megan Pustetto went on to reveal that “after just a couple of weeks of raising awareness about the accessibility over one incident, I’ve lost my business and have been called all sort of names, received death threats.”
She says she’s “exhausted, defeated, upset” and “can’t imagine how exhausted, defeated and upset members of the disabled community must feel doing this every. Fucking. Day. Of. Their. Lives.”
Megan Pustetto also claimed that before Life Uncut sat down with Camilla Franks for the podcast, she informed their producer of the designer’s “problematic past” and “recent shitty behaviour” and told the hosts they “shouldn’t give her a platform.”
Have a read below:
The Life Uncut girls react in their Facebook group
Meanwhile in the Life Uncut podcast’s FB group, the hosts responded to a post about the incident, writing: “Guys, I’m so fucking devastated by all of this. Everything we have said and stood for is being twisted and used amongst us.”
“NOT ONCE have we mentioned So Dramatic! in any of our conversations,” they added. “We would never undermine anyone, we have worked for two years to bring a podcast that covers everything with compassion and kindness. We may not always hit the mark, but we are so committed to learning from our mistakes and doing better.”
They went on to say that they “do not endorse” Camilla’s post and claim that they “asked [Camilla’s team] to change or remove it within 20 minutes of when it went live” but apparently “they refused to” do it.
The Life Uncut gals continued, “We are not ok with how this has been handled from Camilla’s team, however, we feel that So Dramatic! has now taken a personal vendetta against Life Uncut and the conversation is turning really toxic.”
So Dramatic! reshared the comment on her Instagram and subsequently wrote, “If you don’t agree with the post and asked for it to be taken down, why did you then share it on your story?”
Given the drama, PEDESTRIAN.TV reached out to everyone involved for their side of the story – so here’s what they had to say.
Camilla Franks’ statement
“When I first started 17 years ago, there was so much ageism and shape-ism in fashion. And that, for me, didn’t sit well. Everyone’s welcome at CAMILLA and I believe that Every Body is beautiful, no matter what age, gender, shape, ability, colour or size,” she began.
She went on to address the aforementioned Australian Fashion Week show: “I’m so glad the industry has embraced a much more forward-thinking attitude towards the wonder of the human body, and the closing show of AAFW was a testament to that. Mistakes and learnings were certainly made, but so was progress.
“While not our show – we contributed looks to the finale along with 18 other designers – it was us that requested diversity inclusive of ability in our models. And I stand by that. I would rather be representative than not, any day of the week.”
She added, “I hope people have taken the time to understand what actually happened before, during and since Fashion Week – including listening to the Life Uncut podcast. They took their time to honour and research the facts and should be commended for it.”
She says the team at Camilla are “in full acknowledgement and agreement that the runway was not ok for the models in wheelchairs. Had we known about the streamers, they would never have been there. We, the event producers and our industry have taken important learnings from it.
“But we are also proud to have been one of the only designers that featured mixed ability models in our garments. We loved working with Lisa Cox in the lead up to Fashion Week and are committed to continuing to learn, collaborate and be inclusive of people of all abilities.”
She went on to say that “on the subject of trolling – we stand by our brand values and are staunchly anti-bullying. Which includes calling out bad behaviour and methods of bullying people might not otherwise recognise. We have chosen not to name the podcaster in question but don’t believe anyone has the right to change our narrative through revolting accusations built on untruths and provocative language.
“There must be consequences for bullying which is why we stand in support of the Online Safety Bill passed through the Australian Senate in June, that allows the eSafety Commissioner to order the removal of content and blocking of sites that are deemed to constitute online abuse, image-based abuse and harmful online content, with a 24 hour time limit, while increasing jail sentences for digital harassment.”
Life Uncut’s statement
“We are so very sorry for how the incident at fashion week has affected the disability community, it was in no way our intention to cause any further hurt or insensitivity by interviewing Camilla Frank’s and asking her about her involvement,” they said.
“We wanted to better understand the situation and what unfolded and share some details around the event including Camilla’s involvement in the final show along with a statement from Lisa Cox who was the disabled model affected by Fashion Weeks error.”
They added, “We absolutely believe in better accessibility, visibility and representation for the disabled community.”
So Dramatic!’s statement
And finally, So Dramatic! had this to say about the whole thing “Calling out problematic behaviour is not trolling. It’s an opportunity to learn and to be better. Camilla is using ‘trolling’ to deflect from her behaviour and continue silencing minority voices.
“Life Uncut have not only enabled her but joined in on silencing minorities by blocking people from their Facebook group and deleting comments from people with disabilities.”
So there you have it: the emerging feud in Australia’s podcast world, (hopefully) explained.