Veteran radio broadcaster John Laws has fallen foul of controversial gay activist Gary Burns over alleged homophobic comments.
Mr Burns has lodged a complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) against Mr Laws and radio station 2SM over the alleged promotion of anti-gay views on air, and via the John Laws Morning Show Facebook page. The stoush began when Laws invited ACT politician Philip Pocock onto his show last Wednesday.
Mr Pocock – who is running for a seat in the ACT elections – used the program to air his views on homosexuality, which include his belief homosexuality should be criminalised, and that doctors should have the right to refuse gay men medical treatment. Mr Burns was invited onto the show afterwards to counter Mr Pocock’s views and was subjected to “hateful vilification, including John Laws putting on a lisp to mock my sexuality,” said Mr Burns.
Comments were then posted by listeners on the program’s Facebook page, referring to Mr Burns as a “poofter” and “faggot”.
The comments were subsequently removed, at Mr Burns’ insistence. In his complaint to the ADB, Mr Burns said the comments were
illegal under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.
“In order for a complaint of unlawful vilification to be established, the public acts of the respondents must incite, or be capable of inciting the ordinary person to feel hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule.”
Mr Burns was confident of reaching a settlement, having successfully settled with Mr Laws and his former station 2UE in 2005 over homophobic comments, and donating the $10,000 received to HIV/AIDS charities. Mr Laws and 2SM declined to comment on the current matter.
In related news, Mr Burns also targeted radio broadcaster Alan Jones in a media release at the weekend.
Following the scandal over Mr Jones’ comments that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father “died of shame” due to his daughter’s “lies”, Mr Burns called Mr Jones a hypocrite.
Referring to Mr Jones’ 1988 arrest in a London public toilet for “lewd behaviour”, Mr Burns said: “Maybe Mr Jones’ father died of shame after he found out his son was arrested in a public bog?”
Mr Burns claimed Mr Jones – who is widely known in media and political circles to be gay – was misleading his core audience about his sexuality.
“The old dears who listen to the big hypocrite don’t necessarily know he likes the sausage, because he has never had the courage to come out.
“Jones has never explicitly denied he’s gay – but by his silence and keeping up a façade, he is in effect lying to the Australian public about his sexuality.”