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Andrew Bolt: Why women deserve an apology

Don Burke is at the centre of one of TV’s biggest alleged sexual harassment scandals. Picture: Nine
Don Burke is at the centre of one of TV’s biggest alleged sexual harassment scandals. Picture: Nine

DON Burke is the last straw. I realise now that I owe women an apology.

No, not because I've ever done a Burke. I've never told foul "jokes" to shock or belittle women, or had roaming hands.

Nor am I the kind who shuts up while other blokes give women - or anyone else - a hard time.

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I've always thought myself conventional that way, but it seems I was wrong - or less right than I'd hoped.

Of course, Burke is not a typical man or even a typical sexist. Many of the things he allegedly did - which he denies - strike me as the actions not of a sex creep but an almost sociopathic bully.

Don Burke denies the allegations against him. Picture: A Current Affair, Channel 9.
Don Burke denies the allegations against him. Picture: A Current Affair, Channel 9.

Saying disgusting things to people unable to hit back seems to me his way of assuring himself he was important and untouchable.

But the range of men forced now to quit from just my own industry - here and in America - suggests Burke was very far from alone in groping and harassing women.

See the giants fall: Burke, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Roger Ailes, Garrison Keilor and others. I'm told more Australian media figures will soon be exposed, including a man I'd respected.

I must have been blind, but, then again, I didn't much hang out with the guys.

That may explain why my first response was to ask - in surprise - why so many women could be allegedly monstered without fighting back.

Burke's accusers number in the many dozens, so why are we only now hearing from them?

But these women knew better than I that the odds were against them.

Too many men had set the rules of the game, particularly at work, and would not care if women complained.

Even now, it's no coincidence that Burke is denounced only long after he quit television.

So what's changed that so many powerful men are today being outed?

One thing above all: There are lots more women at work and in power - enough to help call out the creeps.

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So I'm sorry I did not take more seriously the argument for "positive discrimination" - deliberately hiring more women to create a climate in which more felt supported to succeed.

I'm still against quotas, and still for treating people as individuals.

But I wish I'd seen what a difference sheer numbers would make in bringing bastards to heel.

Topics:  andrew bolt editors picks sexual assault



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