In the wake of comments that got him fired from his commentating job at Triple M, comedian Meshel Laurie has published an emotional open letter to Barry Hall, in an attempt to explain the effect that jokes about rape can have on sexual assault survivors.
“Firstly Barry, I try never to get on my high horse about people saying the wrong thing on air because I know it cold be me on the end of a horrible brain snap any time,” she wrote, noting that she has met him several times and he is “probably a pretty good dude.” She continued:
“I’m going to assume you would never look a rape survivor in the face and tell him or her that you thought their rape was funny. Here’s the trouble with making a rape joke on the radio during the footy the other night though, you were in people’s homes, in their cars, in their workplaces, in their safe places. Some of those people were rape survivors and you laughed at them about their rapes. Right there, when they least expected it, when they were relaxing with the footy, you laughed at their rapes.”
Laurie went on to remind Hall that he has probably been sexual assault survivors around him in the past when he has told rape jokes, adding:
“Did you know male rape survivors are more likely to self-harm than to ever tell anyone about their rape? Why do you think that is? It’s because they spend their entire lives hearing jokes about rape. At school, at work, at footy, at the pub. How could they ever tell anyone what happened to them?”
You can read Laurie’s full letter below:
Barry Hall made a statement to the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, saying:
“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence taken from my commentary on Friday night’s Triple M footy coverage. It was a silly thing to say and it is not a reflection of who I am or what my views are. I am a proud father and dedicated partner and have nothing but respect for women.”