Radio announcers John Laws and Steve Price plan to fight a tribunal decision which said they vilified gay men and must publicly apologise.
On Monday the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruled comments by the two 2UE presenters constituted homosexual vilification within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act and even if done in good faith and in the public interest [were] not reasonable.
The ruling came after Sydney gay man Gary Burns objected to comments made on-air in June 2003 about gay couple Gav and Waz, stars of reality TV show The Block. They were described as young poofs who were renovating in their little knickers and shouldn’t be seen on television in a family time-slot.
Burns believed the comments incited hatred towards, serious contempt for, and severe ridicule of homosexuals.
2UE general manager Bob Miller said Laws and Price would appeal the decision.
The tribunal, in our view, has applied the law incorrectly in this case and made a wrong decision and so we would like to appeal it, Miller told AAP.
The ruling came a few days after Laws issued an apology in Sydney Star Observer for his comments about Queer Eye For The Straight Guy star Carson Kressley.
Laws said on his program on Tuesday: It’s not going to be long before I have to apologise for everything that may offend any individual, particularly if he or she is part of a minority group.
On Monday Price told listeners to his drive-time show the ruling was a direct attack on free speech.
Burns said he was overwhelmed by the tribunal’s decision. I was very emotional, because I believe homosexual males must not be ridiculed, not be there to be laughed at, to be treated differently based on their sexual orientation, he told the Star.
I think the victory will assist homosexual males to be treated with respect in society.
Burns, who was represented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and did not receive any financial compensation from the tribunal, said he wants apologies from Laws and Price on-air and in mainstream newspapers, plus compensation for legal fees.
The tribunal will make final decisions on the nature of an apology or retraction and any damages to be awarded in December.
Burns has asked that his second complaint against Laws over the Kressley comments be referred to the attorney-general and considered on the grounds of serious homosexual vilification.
He said Laws’s apology in the Star last week was a limp-wristed approach, and believed if the broadcaster was seriously remorseful he would have taken an ad out in the mainstream press.