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ABC defends Germaine Greer's upcoming Q&A appearance

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 14/09/2018 Broede Carmody
Germaine Greer. © Angela Wylie Germaine Greer.

The ABC has defended its decision to host Germaine Greer on Monday night's episode of Q&A despite her recent comments about rape and the #MeToo movement.

The Australian feminist sparked intense backlash earlier this year after describing Harvey Weinstein's victims as "career rapees". The comments led, in part, to her invitation to this year's Brisbane Writers Festival being withdrawn.

Greer was also overlooked for this year's Melbourne Writers Festival, with director Marieke Hardy telling ABC radio she wasn't interesting in programming that "hurt people".

Q&A's executive producer, Peter McEvoy, said the Female Eunuch author wasn't going to be banned from his TV show any time soon - but he was quick to point out her upcoming appearance didn't mean the ABC agreed with her points of view.

"The whole point of Q&A is to bring together people who don't agree," he said. "Being included on the panel isn't an endorsement. We couldn't possibly agree with or endorse all the views expressed on Q&A, but we do try to include significant opinions."

The executive producer also stressed that people who make controversial or offensive remarks on the program are often pulled-up by host Tony Jones or even their fellow talking heads.

"Q&A is designed to create a forum where people can have a civil, productive discussion despite their differences," he said. "Controversial opinions are inevitably challenged by the audience and the panellists."

Speaking on BBC Radio in March, the Australian feminist suggested the people who have come forward with allegations against the disgraced movie mogul have also benefited from his behaviour.

"Some... have been paid six-figure sums in the form of non-disclosure agreements," she said. "That's a dishonourable thing to accept and it's not something you should boast about.

"The amount of legal muscle that will be used to defend these people is massive and I'm concerned for damage limitation rather than maximisation. Rather than wrecking people's lives... they [the alleged victims] become career rapees."

Greer has made it clear she is no fan of the #MeToo movement that sprung up in the wake of numerous reports of men in Hollywood harassing and assaulting people in the entertainment industry. She has argued women should take immediate action against those who prey on them at the time of the encounter, as opposed to coming forward years later.

Greer has also sparked outcries after arguing that Woody Allen's career shouldn't come to an end over claims he molested his daughter. In the past, she has been slammed for distasteful comments about trans women, and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

The Age was a media partner of the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival. The author also appeared in this year's program. 

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