Fox Sports reporter Megan Barnard, who was dramatically outed by a former colleague, has spoken out about the incident and how it impacted her life in a revealing new interview.
Speaking with Stellar, Barnard, 37, said,“No one should ever be forced to come out before they’re ready, it can be dangerous.”
Outed By Colleague
Barnard was relating her personal experience of being outed by her former colleague, AFL journalist Tom Morris, who made disparaging remarks about Bernard’s sexuality in an audio clip posted to a WhatsApp group chat.
The leaked audio was made public in March, and outed Barnard, who prior to the leak was not public with being gay.
Barnard, who has been a sports presenter for Fox Sports since 2013, told Stellar, “People have messaged to share their stories, struggles and fears of coming out — and of being outed.”
“I have tried to respond to everyone that has contacted me. If this resonates with just one person and makes them realise it’s OK to be gay, that it’s not something to hide or run from then sitting down for this article has been worth it,” Barnard said.
‘I Knew I Was Gay At 12’
“I knew I was gay from the age of 12… It was such a painful time during my teens, feeling what I was feeling and desperately wanting those thoughts to go away and to be like everyone else,” Barnard said.
“I tried to fight it for years because we had all been taught that being gay ‘wasn’t normal. It was just so overwhelming, it was the elephant in the room. There were times [when] I thought I just didn’t want to exist, it was that hard.”
“It took me more than a decade to come out, and I’m just grateful I hung in there and didn’t fall off the edge,” said Barnard in the emotional interview.
In a widely praised Instagram post, Barnard spoke of the incident, saying, “I am overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received over the past few days in response to the comments about me in the media. To everyone who has reached out, thank you.”
Morris Made Offensive Comments
In the leaked clip in which he outed Barnard, Morris said, “Unfortunately she’s a lesbian lads. Megan Barnard; f**king hot as.”
“Like my view, the hottest girl at Fox by a long way but unfortunately yep, she’s got a liquor license, she’s very, very good at it.”
In another clip, Morris says, “To the lads on tier 4, I’m not Asian, I’m not black, I’m not a woman, I’m not gay. So don’t treat me like sh*t. I’m a man with a heart and I’ve got feelings,” Morris says.
The offensive clip was leaked just 24 hours after Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, in a press conference called Morris a “gutter journalist,”
Morris, who was terminated from Fox following the scandal, said in a statement at the time, “I would like to unconditionally apologise to everyone for my disgusting and disgraceful comments, which became public yesterday. I am especially sorry to the person involved. No one should ever in any place, or at any time, be spoken about in that way.”
“I am deeply ashamed of my behaviour. My comments were hurtful to many and I will now take the time to listen, learn and work to improve myself, ensuring I become a better person. I am truly sorry to everyone,” Morris said in his statement.