At the end of last month Don Burke had been accused of being a perpetrator of sexual harassment and has since become the focus of a comedy skit by the ABC.
The ABC’s fresh late night talk show “Tonightly with Tom Ballard” has used this daring skit in its premiere episode. The skit was a spoof of a home improvement gardening segment thats premise was to teach viewers how to cultivate a sexual harasser.
The comedian Greta Lee Jackson was the star of the skit as she performed the daring display of satire with a watering can and flowerbed backdrop. Jackson has since stated the intention of the skit was to poke fun at the misogyny present in the film and TV industries.
There has however been backlash against the skit from a few gender advocacy organisations. Some critics of the skit have stated that if it would not be acceptable to satirise paedophilia then it shouldn’t be acceptable to satirise sexual harassment.
Last week star of the hit gardening show “Burke’s Backyard”, Don Burke, was accused of indecent assault, sexual harassment and bullying of women. Several women who had worked with Burke in the late 80’s and 90’s have since come forward confirming these accusations.
Two former TV researches claimed that Burke had attempted to grope their breasts on separate occasions. Other accusations claimed that Burke showed bestiality videos and requested topless auditions.
While there have been no claims of anything worse than indecent assault, the common perception of Mr Burke has been that of a sexually inappropriate man who used his influence to harass women.
Channel 9’s former director for news and current affairs Peter Meakin stated that there were never any official complains about Burke. Meakin did state however that there was a general awareness that Burke was narcissistic and inappropriate to the majority of the people he worked with.
Burke has since firmly denied that allegations, stating that they were all opportunistic fabrications of ex-colleagues who held grudges against him.
The ABC sketch, while not naming Burke, heavily implied the joke was at his expense. The skit went through several stages explaining how to grow a sexual harasser and create conditions for them to “thrive”.
Other parts of the sketch pointed out ways to weed out complainants and dismiss their allegations as being unable to “take a joke”. The sketch went on to satirise excuses made by others who were recently accused of sexual harassment such as claiming that times were different or having had Asperger’s disease.