Twitter is alight after Melbourne Renegades star Chris Gayle received a $10,000 (£5,000) fine for asking out a female interviewer live on air.
People’s anger seems to stem from the fact that Sunrise weather girl Nuala Hafner – described as “brave” by the Daily Mail – received support and adulation when she did the same thing during a live report on December 17.
The presenter attempted to flirt with a ‘hunky’ beach goer during a live weather report from Sydney’s Balmoral Beach, only to be shot down when he told her he was engaged.
Ms Hafner went on to say:
Story of my love life, he would rather get wet than come over to me! Is this some kind of mating display because I’m really enjoying it.
Both press and the public reacted with a distinctly sympathetic tone to Ms Hafner’s approaches with Sunrise tweeting:
On the other hand, Gayle’s club have extended a formal apology to interviewer Mel McLaughlin after the star made the inappropriate comments during Monday night’s Big Bash clash against the Hobart Hurricanes.
The team’s Chief Executive, Stuart Coventry, released a statement saying:
Chris’s comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful and there is simply no place for these kind of comments across any sport. Mel is an outstanding sports presenter. We think of her very highly and the club and the players will ensure we work with her in a professional and respectful manner in the future. We’ve had several discussions with Chris and he has acknowledged that his comments were out of line.
Twitter uses responded angrily to the difference in treatment between the two incidents:
It seems that a lot of people feel the difference in response stems from the fact that Gayle is a man and Hafner is a woman – and this is a crucial point.
Women have had to – and still do – endure the kind of comments that Chris Gayle made for countless years and, whether he meant it or not, it implies that he felt a certain level of superiority, ignoring the fact that Mel McLaughlin was there in professional capacity – he could have asked her out off air.
At the same time, although on the face of it what Nuala Hafner did does seem the same, the fella she encountered on the beach was not working, and as such was not put into the same awkward situation. That is not to say that she should have done what she did – I would argue that her behaviour was unprofessional too.
Ultimately, it’s the difference between the incidents that seems ridiculous, a $10,000 fine for one and support/sympathy for the other? Maybe, in the end, both reactions are at equally wrong ends of the scale.