Opinions about Mia Freedman are a lot like Mia Freedman‘s opinions – there’s a lot of them floating about the internet. Occasionally the centre of that particular venn diagram is struck where one begets the other. Last night on The Project, we got exactly that.

Freedman – a regular recurring panelist on the nightly news panel show – made a really crappy analogy on the program last night. There’s no two ways about that one, it was ill-conceived, ill-timed, wildly inappropriate. At best, really dodgy. At worst, profoundly offensive and dangerous.

Whilst discussing the issue of the Northern Territory‘s newly installed sex offenders register, host Josh Zepps argued the point that publication and “naming and shaming” the identities of convicted pedophiles could have an adverse effect in that it might dissuade them from seeking help and rehabilitation.

There is some evidence that if you can identify people who are young who have the propensity to do this kind of thing, that if you can get them into treatment, that if you can teach them abstinence, that if you can teach them coping mechanisms and so on, then you can prevent potentially from offending.

“My concern is that if you have too much vigilantism, too much moralising, does that make it more difficult for people to sort of come out of the closet about this and get help and get into therapy?”

In response, Freedman made the following remark.

We accept that gay people can’t change who they love and who they’re sexually attracted to. So why do we think that people who are sexually attracted to children can be rehabilitated?”

*brow furrowing intensifies*

Look, here’s the thing about that. You can kinda see what Mia was trying to get at. And there certainly wasn’t any malicious intent in the remarks. But I think we can all agree that it was a boneheaded comment.

And then came the apology. Of sorts.

But that’s not really taking ownership of the error, is it. It’s just a rosy way of saying “You should’ve seen through what I said to what I meant, but I’m sorry that you didn’t do that” and punctuating it with the ole’ classic “some of my best friends are gay!

Fortunately outlets longer than 140 characters exist, and Freedman expanded greatly on things this morning on her own site Mamamia.

Let me be absolutely clear: if I have upset, confused or outraged anyone who thought I would ever ever ever stand with bigotry or homophobia, I unreservedly apologise.
I know the facts: there is no link between homosexuality and offending against children. And after the hundreds of hours of live TV and radio I have done, I should have known better; it’s dangerous to try and make a complex point about such an important topic in 10 seconds.

I made the wrong call and tried to make a point that was way too complex for a 5 second grab. I recognise now that the long history of people damagingly linking homosexuality and paedophillia, means the two topics can never be inoffensively connected.

The idea that someone could – or should – be ‘cured’ of their sexual orientation is repugnant. So that’s what informed my analogy. Was prime time TV in a 10-second sound bite the right place to make that point? Clearly not. I was trying to raise concerns about our capacity to rehabilitate child sex offenders and I chose a bad example to try and do so.

I could not be more united with the LGBTQI community in everything they do and everything they stand for. I truly hope my heartfelt and sincere apology is accepted.

You can read her statement in full here.

Photo: Graham Denholm via Getty Images.