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Studio 10 panel faces off against David Leyonhjelm over 'b---h' slur

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 4/07/2018 Robert Moran

Video provided by Studio10

Ten's Studio 10 panel has faced off against David Leyonhjelm, in a heated appearance where the senator refused to apologise for calling the breakfast show's co-host Angela Bishop a "b---h".

"You think it's proper to call women b---hes?" fill-in panellist Hugh Rimington asked the senator as tempers flared.

"When they are b---hes," Leyonhjelm replied.

The Liberal Democrat had labelled Bishop a "bigoted b---h" on Twitter over the weekend, after the Ten entertainment editor described his sexist remarks against Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young as "pathetic".

Surprisingly, Leyonhjelm accepted an invitation to appear live on the show on Wednesday morning to discuss "free speech" and the controversy over his comments.

David Leyonhjelm on Studio 10 on Wednesday morning. © Ten David Leyonhjelm on Studio 10 on Wednesday morning. After a circuitous discussion where he refused to back-track on his comments and continued his defence that Hanson-Young was a "serious misandrist", he may as well have stayed home.

During the frustrating exchange, Bishop continuously pressed the senator on his slur.

"I'm not a misandrist. Why did you call me a b---h?" she asked.

"Because you were being bigoted," he replied, saying he was defending Bishop's co-host Jo Hildebrand, who had been "trying to explain the context" of his words against Hanson-Young.

"Why not call her a bigot, why do you call her a b---h? Real men don't call women b---hes," Riminton jumped in.

"Oh, you've had a very sheltered life, Hugh," Leyonhjelm replied. "You're entitled to your opinion... I mix with normal Australians and they use that language all the time."

Midway through the interview, Leyonhjelm appeared to temper his tone, telling Bishop "I'm sorry you took offence" at the slur.

"So do you admit that calling her a b---h was wrong?" host Harris interjected.

"Oh no," Leyonhjelm quickly replied, drawing groans from the in-studio audience and panellist Fiona O’Loughlin.

Riminton later shared an "off-camera concession" on Twitter, saying Leyonhjelm had told Bishop "he probably shouldn't have said it in public".

Leyonhjelm with Studio 10's panel following the awkward segment. © Ten Leyonhjelm with Studio 10's panel following the awkward segment. Bishop also questioned the senator on his "end game", suggesting his controversial comments were aimed at attracting interest to his re-election campaign.

"That might be an outcome of it, but I didn't set out to achieve that... I didn't try to stop the ball but I also didn't start it," Leyonhjelm said, putting the blame over his time "in the spotlight" back on the media.

"You guys keep ringing me up to come and do interviews," he told the panel. "Free speech is important but so is sexism and calling out misandry."

Leyonhjelm has refused to back down from his comments against Hanson-Young despite condemnation by Malcolm Turnbull, saying he'd only apologise if the Greens senator made three public announcements rejecting "men's collective responsibility" in violence against women.

Hanson-Young, who described Leyonhjelm's comments as "sexist" and "s----shaming", has already rejected his conditions.

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