Australian journalist and ex-panelist of morning show Studio 10 Joe Hildebrand was slammed on Twitter for a News.com.au article where he wrote “Thank God she’s dead” about the alleged Christian Porter rape victim.
Hildebrand began trending after a screen grab from the opening paragraph of his opinion piece about the Christian Porter allegations was shared on Twitter.
“Amid the maelstrom of blanket news coverage and political warfare that exploded over the historic rape allegations and later awful suicide of a woman whose name the nation does not know yet whom half the nation claims to know, a sad involuntary thought jumped into my mind: Thank God she’s dead,” Hildebrand wrote.
are you ready for it. are you ready for the worst article you’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/MiGuwn6z92
— Nick Schadegg (@nickschadegg) March 6, 2021
He later clarified that this was not what he really thought that “like any decent human, I desperately wish she was still alive.” Which again still feels really morbid. Any decent human? I think most humans wouldn’t wish someone dead.
Out of context it obviously looks bad, but Hildebrand would’ve known this would happen. So it has created some confusion online around how this line slipped through the cracks.
Some one needs to let this plonker know it’s not compulsory for him to externalise everyone of his thoughts pic.twitter.com/guRBuQch5d
— Shaun Leane (@ShaunLeaneMP) March 6, 2021
It’s clearly a shock tactic to get people talking, but where do we draw the line between thought-provoking and deliberately offensive language? Publicly saying you wish that someone was dead is surely always a bad idea?
“I don’t like either [rape or consensual affairs]. I also don’t like murder or green tea. That doesn’t mean they’re the same thing or even on the same spectrum.”
Joe Hildebrand, with the absolutely dumbest take on the past three weeks I have yet seen 😮😮😡#ChristianPorter
— Paul Meek (@PaulMeekPerth) March 6, 2021
You can read the full article here, but basically Joe Hildebrand suggests that reopening the Porter case so publicly was not what the alleged victim wanted. Of course, there is no way of knowing this.
However, before the woman took her own life in June she prepared a long statement for her solicitor and wrote:
“If this story does become public knowledge, I hope that it will encourage other women to come forward.”
“Not for me, but for themselves… I also hope that other people who have endured similar traumas, should these facts become public knowledge, will feel less alone.”
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.
You can also reach the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or chat online.