Mardi Gras accepts Wilson’s apology

Mardi Gras accepts Wilson’s apology

A Channel Ten newsreader has apologised on air after he branded the Sydney Mardi Gras parade “disgusting”.

The interview on Ten’s Morning News on Monday between Mardi Gras co-chair Peter Urmson and newsreader Ron Wilson turned sour after what began as a general discussion about the political themes of this year’s Mardi Gras. It quickly turned into a tense back-and-forth between the two when Wilson began questioning the relevance and appropriateness of the parade in 2011.

“Some of the spectacles you’re seeing, I’m assuming would even make you cringe. It becomes an exploitation almost of a sexual image rather than trying to explore the diversity of lifestyle,” Wilson said.

“Our community is extremely colourful, and we celebrate our diversity through …” Urmson replied, before Wilson interrupted by saying “there’s a difference between colourful and disgusting”.

At one point, Wilson questioned why the gay and lesbian community was pushing same-sex marriage as an issue.

“There’s acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Why not let time take care of the gay marriage issue rather than pushing it?” he asked.

A clearly dumbfounded Urmson responded by saying, “Because if we don’t push for it, no one’s going to.”

Criticism of Wilson’s performance exploded on the Star Observer’s website – – and social media platforms, with many questioning the bizarre and uncharacteristic editorialising of what began as a fairly straightforward interview for the 35-year news veteran.

Following the backlash Wilson apologised for the interview in a statement on Monday night and on air at the end of the Tuesday morning news broadcast.

“As a journalist, my job is to present an issue from different perspectives,” Wilson said in an on air apology.

“But there is no question I could have chosen my words better. If anyone took offence at anything I said during the interview I apologise. I fully support the gay community in its campaign to promote the issue of gay marriage and I congratulate the gay and lesbian community on the success of Mardi Gras. Please take that with the upmost sincerity.”

Urmson said he was happy to accept Wilson’s apology.

“We appreciate the need for an interviewer to present contrary views and it is our roles as spokespeople to respond, however clearly a line was crossed yesterday and Ron made some highly subjective and damning comments which it is now clear he regrets,” he said in a statement.

“Furthermore we appreciate that Ron was prepared to go on record, on a personal basis, stating his support for same-sex marriage. That is something that neither major political party has to date been prepared to do. It is not something Ron needed to do, but clearly felt important to put on record.

“As far as we are concerned, it lays the matter to rest. Channel Ten has given otherwise positive coverage to this year’s Festival and Parade, and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Sydney gay activist Gary Burns has announced he will lodge a complaint against Wilson at the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

“The Mardi Gras may not be everyone’s cup of tea but surely diversity on a night like this is acceptable,” Burns said.

Ten also released a statement yesterday in regards to the comments:

“Ten Morning News featured eight minutes of overwhelmingly positive coverage of Mardi Gras. Ron Wilson congratulated organisers on the success of the 2011 event.

One small section of the interview raised a question about behaviour by some participants. The phrasing might not have been ideal, and TEN apologises if any viewers took offence.

However, it is not unreasonable for alternative views to be put to organisers and the interview talent agreed that while he didn’t hold the view, some sections of society may.”

You May Also Like

144 responses to “Mardi Gras accepts Wilson’s apology”

  1. Gay or straight who cares, but we all have a responsibility when doing something in public that it remains respectful. There were probably alot of families with children watching in the crowd & hopefully the event was family friendly. Give Ron the benefit of the doubt & hopefully that was the point he was trying to make…

  2. God some of you people are ignorant. He’s not calling gays disgusting. He’s talking about the behaviour of some of the idiots on the floats acting like sex starved gyrating, tit flopping animals. etc. I think gays should be allowed to get married but Mardi Gras give Gay a bad name by parading around making depraved spectacles of themsleves. Sheesh

  3. Oh, and another thing – if the straighty-one eighties want to weigh in on our parade, then the gloves are off on Moomba, bitches! Someone needs to do something about that abomination. Where are the dancing girls, prancing boys, thumping house music? Glitter? Feathers? Leather? Humour?

    Pfft – call that a parade? You can have it, Ron. Leave Mardi Gras to us queerfolk, pet.

  4. ” I just have an opinion on this topic…”

    One inspired by outdated, and false, religious values no doubt.

  5. It’s disappointing that Peter was so startled by Ron’s comment and unable to provide a more substantive rebuttal. Which is, if Mardi Gras conformed to a mainstream view of what was acceptable, there’d be no Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is, after all, a celebration of diversity in the community (there’s no one definition of queer), and in some small limited way, still a protest march against bigotry and inequality.

    Yes, parts of it are rude and risqué but so is life. You can pick and choose what you want to participate in. If Ron doesn’t like what he sees, he can switch off the telly or climb down off his milk crate.

    Anyway, I’m not sure he succeeded at ‘editorialising’ (if indeed that was his goal), so much as come across as an ageing, out-of-the-loop fuddy duddy who thinks we should have shut the march down when we won the right not to be jailed for our homosexuality.

    Channel Ten: #notwinning

  6. Wilson, well done !
    Now, let channel Ten apology for axing Christian programs.
    That is discrimination, I you going to axe this email as well ?
    No guts no glory

  7. Mardi Gras is a disgrace to the community and humanity. it is shamfull to speak off it.

  8. “Some of the spectacles you’re seeing, I’m assuming would even make you cringe.”

    Ah yes, this old saw. He has no problem with GLBTI people, as long as nothing reminds the world that they actually have sex organs.

  9. Shame on you Ron Wilson.
    Shame on you Channel TEN for not making an unconditional apology.

  10. While I think his comments on ‘pushing the issue’ were out of line, I actually agree with him on the content of the Mardis Gras itself.

    I found some of the floats this year and last to be appalling. Even as a bisexual young man completely in line with the Gay Rights / Marriage movement, I don’t equate ‘freedom and equal rights’ with half naked men and women tripping on drugs and all but having sex on stage.

    I’m not there to see a sex show, I’m there to express, and see others express their individuality.

    Don’t get me started on the people there to see the Mardis Gras either.

  11. If gays can have their opinion so can othersm, Ron Wilson included. I too find the gay parade disgusting. What they do behind closed doors is different to flaunting their sexuality and making it be accepted by others. This is totally abborant and abnormal behaviour. Gays can accept themselves but do not expect all of society to agree with you and say it is ok. I am not religious.

  12. Makes me laugh….$32 Million for Sydney alone. This is done free of charge for Tourism NSW. So why dont these business eg hotels etc..Stand up and be counted for support of Mardi Gras. But as usual they just sit back take the pink $$$. G I wonder what would happen if Mardi Gras ever folded? What would they do??? Channel Ten has always been Homophobic, that will never change.

  13. I believe ron wilson was right!! I dont believe that gay marriage should be legalised. Marriage should be between a man and a woman NOTHING ELSE! No w before you start calling me a homophobic im not. Homophobia is an intense fear of homosexual people and im not scared of them! I just have an opinion on this topic…

  14. Wilson is right. the Mardi Gras isn’t about saying “We’re here and queer” anymore – it’s become about shock value, and the post-parade orgies.

  15. maybe he is just saying what the silent majority think, but in this pc world immediately labeled whatever label you will now put in me.

  16. I would have loved it if Mr Urmson had’ve taken Wilson to task and asked him to list the floats that he found disgusting.
    My money says he would have fallen flat on his sword and could have been called out for not watching the Mardi Gras parade in the first place, instead taking the low road of a sensationalist point of view…

  17. “..and the interview talent…” couldn’t the pr machine at 10 remember his name and position? Sheeesh!

  18. Why is it that any criticism is lumbered under the category of homophobia? Aren’t we allowed to either like something or not without being classified one way or the other. This is another case of “You are either for us or against us.” Myself, I couldn’t care less.

  19. Poor form Mr Wilson, clearly see his thinking on it – makes it justify why are fighting for our rights!!

  20. Good on you Wilson, the mardi gras is disgusting. Homosexuals have taken it to a whole new level with this parade. This is part of the stigma associated with homosexuality as you have bafoons like these behaving the way they do.

  21. Its about time there was equality for all. The gay and lesbian community are required to pay the same taxes and fines as the “normal” straight community, if we are not equal in all aspects of life, such as marriage, should we not pay the same taxes ?

    Australis, get with the times, lets make every one equal.

  22. I’ll make a prediction that in less than a month we’ll see Ron Wilson emerging from Kens of Kensington.

  23. As an experiences news anchor, Wilson should know that it is not his place to express his outdated opinions, but rather to report the news in a fair and balanced manner. He should be fired, or at least made to publicly apologise. If someone made a racist or sexist comment in such a way, they would be gone before the next morning’s news.

  24. Silly homosexual lifestylers. Don’t you know that all social change has come about by sitting around waiting for it? Don’t ask for change – wait for old straight white men to hand it to you. Yes, that’ll work just fine.

  25. How could he even say that? All social change comes about though pushing and fighting and then eventually becomes “normal” after it has been accepted it doesn’t just happen over time. TOOL!