Australia’s most senior travel agent exec is facing backlash after saying he’d like A Current Affair host Tracey Grimshaw “to be given a firm uppercut or a slap on the face”.

The comments were made during an online seminar by Jayson Westbury, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, The Age reported.

“I won’t ever be watching [A Current Affair] again, I think that Tracy Grimshaw needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face,” he said.

“And I mean that virtually, of course, I wouldn’t want to invoke (sic) any violence on anyone.

“But, I mean, some of the behaviour and some of the language that’s being used on that program is just outrageous.”

Calling for a female TV anchor to be punched in the face, even if it’s only “virtually”, whatever that means, is not a good look for someone who is essentially having a sook about unfavourable media coverage.

Last week, A Current Affair reported on STA Travel refusing to give a customers refunds, including a $11,000 refund for one family, as well as on similar incidents with Flight Centre.

Both Flight Centre and STA are members of the association.

They’re among several instances of travel agents refusing to be flexible during the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of Aussies now demanding refunds.

While Grimshaw is a journalist herself, she mainly serves as a host while individual stories are reported by others. The story in question was actually reported by Danielle Post.

“The best thing to do for A Current Affair is just to stop watching,” Westbury told travel agents at the seminar.

“I’ve personally boycotted it, won’t be ever watching it again.”

Now he’s facing calls to stand down.

“He needs to be sacked from his position now,” Red Heart Campaign founder and journalist Sherele Moody said in a post on Facebook.

“It’s hard to believe that old mate has no idea about the epidemic of violence against women in Australia. That he doesn’t know men across the country routinely give their partners uppercuts and slaps around the face.”

Countless others have also called for him to stand down on social media.

Westbury apologised in a  statement on Monday morning.

“My comments relating to Ms Grimshaw involved a very poor choice of words. I apologise for that choice and accept the language used was completely inappropriate,” he said.

On its website, the AFTA describes it role as “being the industry watchdog where it ensures that the viewpoint of the agent is transmitted through media outlets and advocating through lobbying activities.”

Might be worth reevaluating those comments, then.

Image: Facebook / A Current Affair