Reporter provokes sexism row after hugging colleague

Australian broadcaster compared to cricketer Chris Gayle following on-air incident

Australian sports reporter Hamish McLachlan hugging  his colleague Monika Radulovic live on-air. Photograph: Channel Seven

Australian sports reporter Hamish McLachlan hugging his colleague Monika Radulovic live on-air. Photograph: Channel Seven

 

Social media users have compared Australian sports reporter Hamish McLachlan to embattled Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle after McLachlan wrapped his arms around his colleague Monika Radulovic live on-air.

Radulovic, a former Miss Universe contestant, was midway through a broadcast on her first day as a fill-in weather reporter for Weekend Sunrise on Channel Seven when the incident happened.

McLachlan, a friend of Radulovic, awkwardly embraced the reporter before she laughingly pushed him away.

“Professional please, my goodness,” Radulovic said.

“There’s been stuff all week on that . . . I’m not Chris Gayle,” McLachlan joked.

However, viewers were unconvinced, and took to social media to draw comparisons between McLachlan and Gayle, who last week tried to pick up a Channel Ten sports reporter during a live interview.

“Hamish McLachlan’s actions seem to be receiving less condemnation than Gayle’s. Wonder why,” one person said on Twitter.

Weekend Sunrise’s Facebook page was also peppered with criticism over the incident.

“I’m confused! One minute you guys are discussing Chris Gayle’s crappy behaviour and the next you have some horse-racing bloke copping a feel of your weather presenter!” one viewer wrote.

Another viewer said that Channel Seven needed to do more to protect women.

“Please advise what actions are you taking to protect your female employees’ right to not be disrespected, demeaned, groped and/or sexually harassed both off- and on-air,” one wrote.

Apology

Both McLachlan and Radulovic apologised for the incident later on the Saturday morning programme, .

“I understand people have made stuff of it on social media and if I’ve offended anyone at home I’m apologising for that absolutely,” McLachlan said.

He then said to Radulovic: “More importantly I apologise if I’ve offended you because I want to have fun and that is my fault if I’ve offended you.”

Radulovic said she was not offended.

“Not at all, I’m so sorry as well guys. I did not think twice about it,” she said, before noting that the pair were friends.

“Like Hamish said, we’re colleagues and friends and we were just chatting like we normally do off-camera.”

McLachlan then apologised to Weekend Sunrise presenter Edwina Bartholomew.

“Edwina, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you [or] anyone watching at home. Mon and I didn’t think anything of it and now I got the phonecall saying people have made a lot of it so I apologise to whoever I’ve offended,” he said.

While the vast majority of social media commentary about the hug was critical, a few users backed McLachlan and lamented the rise of political correctness.

Guardian service