Barry Humphries slams Nine’s chequebook journalism

By David Knox on May 29, 2012 / Filed Under News 10

On Q & A last night Barry Humphries hit out at A Current Affair‘s plan to air an interview with a Sydney escort, over the Craig Thomson affair.

“I deplore…. moving on to another theme…. a famous television network like Nine and their actions in paying a prostitute an amount money like that to, sort of, sing like a canary,” he said.

It drew him to remark on an earlier ACA story, although he appeared to overlook the fact both stories were from the one show.

“In the same way as another well-known television magazine  programme, door-stopped my friend Clive James quite recently and produced some floozy and humiliated him in the street. They flew this woman across the world for this deplorable, disgraceful piece of television. Something serious is happening.

“And there is a thing called the Press Council which seems absolutely impotent. I mean all they did was ‘tut tut’ over that and meanwhile we have to put up with this fellow, Craig Thomson, who admittedly looks devastated. So he should, I think.”

However, Humphries’ reference to the Press Council is incorrect regarding ACA which falls under ACMA’s watch when there is a formal complaint.

His comments followed Media Watch also criticising ACA‘s plans, last night.

Jonathan Holmes said that paying $60,000 to the woman to remember one client among potentially hundreds from seven years ago was highly contentious, especially if her identity was to be concealed.


  1. Butterfly Carnage May 30, 2012 at 7:20 am -

    Wasn’t Humphries in fine form? Biting, irreverent and having no idea half the time what the topic was.

    I agree @Alastair, just because you provide an intimate service to others doesn’t make you untrustworthy, is some respects quite the opposite I would think.

  2. Jason D. May 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm -

    I’m not a fan of ACA. But Media Watch & Q&A are only toeing the party line when it comes to MP Craig Thompson. It’s also not out of the question for Q&A producers to be setting up the questions or discussion accordingly to their liking.

  3. Ann May 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm -

    He also had some choice words to say about one of the key players in the case!!

  4. roaringdave May 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm -

    I think he hit the nail on the head calling ACA a “television magazine programme” rather than a “current affairs” programme as they would like you to believe.

  5. Moanique May 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm -

    I agree that a lot of prostitutes are in that line of work out of necessity etc, however they are paid very well and discretion is supposed to be one of their main qualities.

  6. JarrodJ May 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm -

    I think the point is that for a ridiculous amount of money a woman is admitting to sleeping with Craig Thomson, and she gets to remain anonymous.
    There’s no accountability in the situation.

    Hell, I’d say I had sex with Craig Thomson for that money, and I’m not in the business of selling myself.

  7. Trix May 29, 2012 at 11:31 am -

    Frankly, I was a bit dismayed at some of the comments made by Barry Humphries and David Marr last night. As @alastair pointed out, sex workers are often supporting children and choose that line of work out of necessity. Actually, Barry Humphries seemed bewildered at times and although scathingly funny and biting at times, seemed to not really have a fix on what was happening, or to particularly care! Miriam Margolyes though – what a classic!

  8. Ronnie May 29, 2012 at 10:29 am -

    It really is a case of 1 step forward (The Voice), 3 steps back for Nine (ACA rubbish, Hackett mess, Tricky Business not connecting). The only thing they seem to do well is Men Behaving Badly – pick a genre, any genre.

  9. bettestreep2008 May 29, 2012 at 9:39 am -

    Nine has being doing chequebook journalism for years.

    This is one of the reasons George Negus and Jana Vendt both left the network.

    Mr Thompson should consult with his lawyers to consider defamation proceedings against Nine.

    Unless the prostitute can prove that Thompson used a HSU credit card to pay for her services , then this is just gutter journalism at it’s absolute worst and deserves to be challenged in the courts.

    Don’t care for the man, but last time I checked prostitution is legal in NSW.

    The ‘Crime’ that he has been alleged to have committed is using HSU money to pay for escorts.

    This just sounds like another utegate to me and has the Liberal Party’s dirty fingers all over it.

    Let’s hope when the truth eventually comes out – no thanks to the media – that anyone involved with this sordid affair is properly dealt with.

    I’m talking to you Mr Abbott, Mr Pyne and Mr Ashby!

  10. alastair May 29, 2012 at 8:12 am -

    I deplore those who talk of prostitutes as people who cannot be trusted, lack morals and ethics, the worst of the worst. Many are in the job to put feed, clothe and educate their children.

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