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Friday, May 02, 2008

Sam Newman versus The Sisterhood

Mediocre former footballer Sam Newman, 72, is no stranger to controversy. While his playing career in post-War Geelong was of little import, he's created big waves re-inventing himself as a buffoon on the widely-panned AFL Footy Show. With his badly botched face and reputation as a pants man, he gained a public notoriety far in excess of his media abilities. His greatest success has been to take a penchant for abusing migrants, the elderly and teens in the street and turn it into a lucrative earner. (More details about his misogyny, idiocy and hate can be found on Wikipedia.)

Sam Newman's most recent controversy arose after an attack on fellow media personality and football writer, Caroline Wilson. "Caro" is the chief football writer for The Age, and appears on Nine's Footy Classified chat show. Newman attacked her on The Footy Show in a now-infamous sketch involving a mannequin in lingerie, a staple gun, a cut-out image of Wilson's face and biting references to her dress and appearance.

You can see some video footage of Newman's brand of hate-filled puppetry here:

The host of both shows, Gary Lyon, faced criticism for failing to stop Newman during his "skit" and for not standing up for his co-panellist (on another show), Wilson. While a half-arsed sort-of apology was forthcoming from Lyon, Newman has remained firm. Channel Nine wasn't budging and signals from the AFL hierarchy indicated that, while they didn't like it, they weren't going to do anything about it.

So in response, a group of senior women in AFL - mostly board members of the various clubs - wrote a letter demanding that The Footy Show tone it down and receive a seminar on respecting women. Newman's response on radio was to dismiss the women as "shrieking, hysterical, desperate". He announced on-air that he tried to quit, but Channel Nine would not accept his resignation and forced him to continue.

And why wouldn't they? This kind of thing is a ratings winner. And besides, it's unlikely to mollify their critics. So they'll be trying a different tack:

I'm not sure if our football industry - in particular The Footy Show - has really embraced the AFL's policy on respect and responsibility for women. Perhaps attending some seminars is a good starting point.

*** UPDATE ***

For the sake of completeness, we'll provide a mini-wrap on the Sam Newman situation. In a word, he's been boned. Channel Nine management, hoping to ride out the imbroglio, spent eight weeks batting the issue away. Sam kept escalating - calling some critics liars, for instance - and the media (led by The Age) kept pushing. Finally, after ratings slipped 15% and some advertisers took their concerns public, the axe fell.

Sam Newman has been dropped from The Footy Show, indefinitely, by Nine's Melbourne supremo Jeffrey Browne.

Sure, some bland motherhood statements were made (did I hear "gardening leave"?). Newman has been publicly ordered into counselling with a psychologist who specialises in troubled children. Nice one. He's been off the air for three weeks (even nicer). He's also contracted the flu, broken his ankle doing weights and had hospital treatment for a hernia resulting from a coughing fit. (I suspect the collective wishful thinking of Melburnians may have played a role in that run of bad luck.)

In a remarkable scoop, Age columnist Catherine Deveny gives us all an extraordinary insight into the counselling sessions with this transcript.

So I guess we can add Sam Newman to the list of ultra-arrogant football alpha-males to have been humbled in recent months, alongside Ben Cousins and Wayne Carey. Who's next?

*** UPDATE ***

Well, I have to admit to being fooled on this one. I thought Sam Newman would stay off the air for at least a couple of months, maybe until the finals started. But no. Three bloody weeks. In a sarcastic and unrepentant tone, he announced to the host, Garry Lyon, "I actually feel cleansed, Garry ... I feel refreshed, and I have learned a lot about myself, Gaz".

Newman hams it up for bogans.
Source: The Age.

This year, Newman's had cameras up his arse, painful surgery made worse by having Eddie McGuire hovering around asking questions and trying to look useful, broken bones and now he's been publicly dressed down and sent to counselling sessions. How much more humiliation can this idiot take? I look forward to finding out.

*** UPDATE ***

Serial pest Sam Newman has only been back on telly for a couple of weeks, but he's already generating headlines with his hate-filled, sexist "quips". This one relates to his assessment of a female Tasmanian politician, Paula Wriedt, as "worthy of coming on". Credit to the panel, they immediately took him to task - once the guffaws from the audience died down.

You can watch the video of Newman's witty wordplay and read the transcript here. Predictably, Channel Nine have dug their heels in rather than concede they've made yet another mistake in letting this buffoon on air. Nine News describe the offensive remark as a "quip" and referred to Caroline Wilson's ritual humiliation as a "gag".

Come on!

Word Count: 407

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  • Haha, Good to see you post again. I thought for a second that the AFL players had totally cleaned up there act and that you were out of a role! It had been over a month.

    You really slapped them with a wet lettuce! There certainly has been a lot of traffic looking for that Video so I am glad you didn't bring yourself to 9's "ratings winner" tactics by just running the video! Because, if there is anything that is going to help solve this situation its making the dispecable footage easier to find!


    By Anonymous Phillip Molly Malone, at 8:07 am, May 02, 2008  

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  • Thanks for that, Molly.

    I disagree with you on your "bury the video" strategy. The problem isn't that people saw it - the problem is that someone did it.

    I hope more and more people see just what Sam Newman did - and the audience reaction.

    The more criticism and opprobrium we heap on Newman's employers, the better the prospects of an apology, some counselling and, ultimately, it not happening again.

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:32 am, May 02, 2008  

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  • I actually don't blame Sam for doing what he did. That is him and no what you or I or anyone else says (including 9 management) he isn't going to change his attitude or the way he acts. I personally am one of the ones that blame Gary a lot more as he works with Caro and had a duty of care to look out for her.

    I don't think the video should be buried either, I just find it funny that people have a go at the Footy Show for this being a Ratings winner and then run the footage in there domain as well!

    Also, you sort of suggest that Sam didn't apologies. He did, not a full or repentive one but he did apologies non the less!

    Also, its interesting that you failed to mention that the ladies organising the letter did take the liberty of adding a name as a signatory that asked not to be listed! Also it was funny to hear one of the signatories was so appalled and horrified by the whole thing that they bought two tables to the show and then rang to demand that they were up the front. You can just smell the outrage at the incident (unless of course she is going to protest at the show or something).

    Oh, and on the AFL doing nothing. What can they do? Take the AFL rights off 9? Sorry, too late!

    I don't support the action. Personally myself I found the stappling the worst of it and unnecessary but if your going to write about that, you keyboard is going to be worn out writing stuff that isn't good.

    Do I take the fact you haven't had a go at Before the Game for making fat jokes about Nick Stevens that you support that? Fat people don't have the same rights?


    By Anonymous Phillip Molly Malone, at 1:05 pm, May 02, 2008  

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  • Greg, that was 24K gold, thanks.

    Just one thing, is there better footage than the YouTube clip that you posted? There was serious image bleed on the one that I saw. It almost seemed as thought there were several images superimposed at once.

    Molly: I actually don't blame Sam for doing what he did. That is him and no what you or I or anyone else says (including 9 management) he isn't going to change his attitude or the way he acts.

    I hope that you don’t mind me asking the question: if you don’t blame Newman, then who do you blame? Lyon? Channel Nine? Maybe they have secondary responsibility, but I have to call you on this one because, well, he, um, did it.

    I’d further put it to you that an extended stint of unemployment probably would change his attitude towards women or the way that he acts.

    its interesting that you failed to mention that the ladies organising the letter did take the liberty of adding a name as a signatory that asked not to be listed!

    It’s also worth pointing out that none of this makes Newman’s behaviour any more acceptable. It is a shame, however, that it takes a letter from female directors (any – the number is not relevant) to get the media to take any notice.

    Do I take the fact you haven't had a go at Before the Game for making fat jokes about Nick Stevens that you support that? Fat people don't have the same rights?

    In Greg's defence, here's some more things that he didn't write about:

    - The bombing of Lebanon by Israel
    - Barack Obama's idiotic pastor
    - The assassination attempt on Jose Ramos-Horta
    - The Austrian (and South Australian) incest scandals.

    Are you seriously suggesting that Greg implicitly supports all of these by not writing about them?

    Have you ever heard the question, "How long is a piece of string?"

    By Blogger Dikkii, at 4:47 pm, May 02, 2008  

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  • Thanks, Dikki, for the explanation. I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    I absolutely support Newman's right to be sexist and hate-filled in public. I also support the rights of everyone else to complain, write letters, turn of their tellies, launch an advertising boycott and sell-down their shares in PBL (or whatever the Jamie's done with the family jewels).

    While I'm not sure, I reckon it's safe to assume that Nine and the AFL have a complex and mutually-enriching business relationship that transcends the question of broadcasting rights. I'd bet there are many things that the AFL could do to punish Nine in general and The Footy Show in particular. Sadly, the only way that the AFL could be induced to take these steps is if they perceive a threat to their long-term financial health.

    A few mothers pulling their kids out of footy and signing them up to soccer would do the trick. Not to mention a drop-off in club membership figures and game attendance.

    Here's hoping a few of these things happen, forcing the AFL to take out their Big Stick and give TFS six of the best!

    Oh - and the quality of the original video is unfortunately shite. I lifted it from YouTube, where Crikeymedia originally posted it. No, there isn't a better version floating around.

    By Blogger Greg, at 9:33 pm, May 02, 2008  

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  • the quality of the original video is unfortunately shite

    I think this statement is redundant, given the content.

    I'm wondering what common Australian expression would suit a high-fidelity version of this video. Tits on a bull? A polished turd? Opinions appreciated.

    By Anonymous taj, at 1:06 am, May 08, 2008  

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    Hi guys

    NAB is giving away free tickets to the Collingwood v Carlton game on Saturday afternoon @ the MCG. Hop on down to Fed Square tomorrow (Friday 13 June) morning between 7-9am and hand in your old mobile phones to redeem 2 tickets to the game. NOVA will be there too! This is all to launch the new NAB SMS Banking - a smart new way to access your accounts!

    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 pm, June 12, 2008  

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  • Normally, I ruthlessly purge comment spam from this blog.

    But I'll leave the above piece intact, as it is the first example I've seen of corporate spam.

    That's right - it looks a lot like the NAB has been paying consultants to automatically inject unsolicited commercial advertising into blogs.

    Surely a bank's brand is built on trust and security. Why would they ally themselves with the "grey hats" from the seedy world of dubious online marketing practices?

    Sure, I expect they all engage in search engine optimisation, but that's out of the public gaze. Blog spam is in-your-face and blatant. What were they thinking?

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:39 pm, June 12, 2008  

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  • Dammit I have a few old mobiles, too. If only they'd do this for a Swans game.

    By Blogger Dikkii, at 1:23 am, June 16, 2008  

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  • After a bit of amateur detective work, it appears the blog spam was placed by BWM, a Sydney ad agency. I sent them an email asking them about this emerging practice, but couldn't get a response. (I noted that within a few minutes of sending the email, my blog was hit by and, suggesting that NAB is aware of this.)

    I rang their reception and asked to speak to someone on the NAB SMS Banking account - she duly complied and I spent a few minutes bouncing around their PABX and reception before leaving voicemail for an unidentified male. That was Friday - haven't heard back. Don't think I will.

    According to Google, this is the only blog to receive this particular spam (or, more likely, others deleted it).

    Based on the photos of the "creative directors" (or whatever) on the BWM site, I'm guessing they think this is a hip, edgy and sophisticated embracing of the blogosphere.

    In my view, it's the clumsy fumblings of old fuddy-duddies botching up something they just don't get.

    For example, the awkward faux-teen phrase "redeem 2 tickets", over use of exclamation marks, @ signs - I mean, really. Who are they trying to reach with this message? Semi-literate teenaged footy fans who hate footballers and take financial advice from blog comment spam? It's a confused mishmash.

    Please try harder next time. Or, do the honourable thing and buy a banner ad (see right). Prices start at around 10c a click.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:18 pm, June 16, 2008  

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  • After a lack of response from the advertisers, I took this quirky piece of nu-media marketing to Crikey.

    Crikey asked Dr Stephen Downes (who blogs at The QBrand QBlog) to take a look:

    NAB media relations spokesperson Felicity Glennie-Holmes confirmed that the message was indeed from the bank. The idea to spam the comments sections of private blogs was a recommendation of PR agency Cox+Inall, part of the BWM group, and had been undertaken by Cox+Inall with the bank’s full knowledge and approval.

    Cox+Inall had searched for blogs that included AFL coverage and were “well-enough read to attract readers who might be interested in our offer,” said Ms Glennie-Holmes. No-one at NAB or at Cox+Inall had considered approaching blog owners first for permission before posting their promotional messages, she said.

    “Blogs are a public forum”, said Ms Glennie-Holmes. NAB and Cox+Inall felt this meant commercial interests could feel free to contribute unsolicited and irrelevant commercial material as comments, placing the onus on blog moderators to reject or delete unwanted comments.

    “We identified five or six blogs where we felt we’d give it a try,” explained Ms Glennie-Holmes. “We chose blogs where we thought the moderators would review and decide whether or not to carry our message…it was up to the blogger to decide whether they would leave the comment there or delete it.”

    The fact that the message posted to the blogs was “very openly promotional” and not deceptive also justified the bank’s conduct, Ms Glennie-Holmes said.

    Aha! So NAB did know about it. How, um ... "bold" of them to go down this path.

    I suppose I should be thankful that this blog is one of "five or six" footy blogs "well-enough read" to warrant blog spam from one of Australia's biggest banks. Circulation here varies a lot. When a scandal breaks, it can reach 10K-20K visitors per week, but it's usually 10% of that. At the moment, we're having a very quiet season, as the dearth of posts will attest. I'd estimate around 20 people would have seen the comment spam between Friday and Sunday. Given that NAB gave away 350 shows bags, I doubt the spam generated a single conversion for them.

    Still, it's a bold new step for corporate advertising in this country, and I'm pleased to be a part of it.

    By Blogger Greg, at 4:12 pm, June 16, 2008  

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  • Wow, So if I read that right, NAB won't mind if I go to there branches and put up posters advertising my site? After all, a bank branch is a public place and if they don't like the promotion they can just remove it!

    The other funny thing is you would think that they would have noticed that you bag footballers and I am sure a lot of your readers wouldn't be into footy either!


    By Anonymous Phillip Molly Malone, at 5:36 pm, June 16, 2008  

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  • Good one, I've came to this site a while ago and couldn't remember how to find it now I have.

    By Blogger AKTIFMAG, at 4:59 pm, June 20, 2008  

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  • I just interviewed Felicity Glennie Holmes on my show
    I tried to educate but they are sticking to their guns.

    By Anonymous Jim Stewart, at 12:51 pm, June 24, 2008  

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  • if The Age may publish Catherine Deneny describing Gary Lyon as "a pig in a suit" and bracket Sam Newman with Josef Fritzel may I describe her as a cunt in a straight jacket and bracket her with the anti art Soviet aparatckiks? probably not as freedom of speech is enjoyed only by those in power

    By Blogger paul madigan, at 12:52 pm, May 26, 2009  

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  • Deveny I meant of course

    By Blogger paul madigan, at 12:56 pm, May 26, 2009  

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  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Ethan Smith, at 9:42 pm, July 26, 2014  

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  • By Blogger Obat Sipilis, at 1:43 am, February 08, 2016  

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