After an interview with writer, podcaster, and disability advocate Carly Findlay on ABC Melbourne, radio presenter Jon Faine has come under fire for uncomfortable and weird comments made about her rare skin condition.
Ironically, Carly was invited onto the show to discuss microaggressions that disabled folks are confronted with every day, only to be confronted with some seriously on-the-nose comments from Faine – noting that “Halloween must be hard” because of her appearance (her rare skin condition, Ichthyosis causes her skin to become very dry, itchy, and inflamed), that she “looks like a burns victim” and wondering if she is able to have sex.
In a blog post accompanying the audio from the interview – which invokes a deep, unwavering cringe from Faine from start to finish – Carly said that Faine’s co-host, Sally Warharft was “mystified and appalled” at points in the interview segment.
Carly also explained on her Twitter that the microaggressions from Faine started even before the microphones were live. Faine seemed “put out” by Carly needing to do the interview seated, as her disability leaves her in a lot of pain and can’t use a standing desk like he does.
Two more things: Jon Faine uses a standing desk & seemed put out when I needed to do interview sitting as I'm sore. And here's the @PWDAustralia guide to reporting #disability for @abcmelbourne to give to Jon. Happy to deliver training. https://t.co/HAmqUBVS2c— Carly Findlay (@carlyfindlay) March 28, 2018
Carly’s also written previously for the ABC about the best practices for reporting on disability, by providing space for people with disabilities to tell their own stories and language to use to avoid othering and turning a person’s reality into “inspiration porn”.
Speaking with The Age, Carly said that the interview itself proved the point and importance of the discussion about microaggressions and how they can happen in any situation – even situations where she’s been invited into a space to speak about her lived experience.
“It [the interview] proves what I was talking about with microaggressions,” she said. “It can happen as I walk down the street and in the studio from a seasoned broadcaster.”
Apparently, Faine is set to make an apology to Carly about his gross comments during the segment, which was more of a lesson about what NOT to say to people living with disabilities.