Tick-a-box sexual harassment apologism from “Lefty” Tim

My status as a staunch “Lefty” Tim Brunero fan has been moribund for most of this season, and it’s now officially dead.

On Big Brother Australia, Rory was in the shower as Terri was approaching. He masturbated till he was half erect, then called out for her to look – “Helicopter, Terri? Helicopter?” while he wiggled his hips around, stripper-style. He moved to make sure that Terri saw it. His harassment was clearly unwelcome, and Rory knew that. Terri said “That’s disgusting, Rory. Don’t do that.” It was obvious that it wasn’t the first time. He does it to offend and intimidate Terri, not to make her laugh.

There’s a little snippet here from 2:44 in this video if you want to get a brief look-in to what’s happening. Bear in mind that this is Big Mouth – they have a history of editing and interpreting selectively to downplay the bullying and harassment in the house. You’ll also see the BB producers’ response to it, which boils down to “Har har hasn’t he got a big dick? And Terri hates it! Har! Plus, wasn’t [co-harasser] Nobbi fabulous? Nobbi, we miss youuuu!”

Rory boasted about this to his muppet mob, making a point of telling them that when he’s in the shower and Terri is around, he always wanks to make sure she gets a good eyeful.

This boast came just after Nobbi exposed himself to Terri, then when she expressed her disgust, yelled at her “What’s the matter? Dontcha like Asian dicks?”

It’s obvious here that these men are repeatedly exposing themselves in a deliberate and hostile way, not playing mutually-fun games. They want to keep on reminding Terri that they have the Almighty Penises, and that they wield them as weapons to put her in her place.

This is not just a bit of silly horseplay. It’s a collaborative sexual harassment campaign, designed to intimidate. This stuff is not just fucked-up, it’s illegal.

Terri, I may not much like you either, but I’ll take your Hollaback anytime at Hollaback Australia. Rory and Nobbi wanking and brandishing penises at you is not cool.

And “Lefty” Tim’s response at Livenews? Wounded pouting about how the poor guy shouldn’t get booted just for having a shower, and about how boring it is in there so you have to make your own fun, and how at worst, it was “in bad taste”. It was a “foolish wiggle”. Boys will be boys. We, “as a society, are taking ourselves just a bit too seriously”.

Wall-to-wall dude cues.

Tim even labels a bookie “hysterical” for changing Rory’s odds in response to his harassment . Could his antifeminism be any more obvious? He hasn’t got the ignorance excuse – this is a guy with a university degree in anthropology and an interest in progressive politics. He knows exactly what “hysterical” means.

None of this should surprise anyone who’s familiar with blokes in the “progressive” movement. But like it or not, I’m disappointed every. single. time. Because I keep convincing myself that they really do want to be feminist allies. I keep trying to tell myself that they’re trying.

Tim, you can just fuck off. I don’t care if you’re belatedly claiming to give a small amount of ground on this – only after being slammed by your public. It is blatantly obvious to anyone who is not a misogynist little assberet that what Rory was doing was pre-meditated sexual harassment. You’re now a card-carrying rape culture apologist, Tim. Was it worth it, for what Ten pays?

I’ll leave you with these immortal words from Kate Harding. I’ve quoted them before, and I’ll quote them again:

Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and …

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women: to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.


Edited 2 July 08 1616 to add: More at Eye On Big Brother.

Categories: gender & feminism, media, violence

Tags: ,

18 replies

  1. “None of this should surprise anyone who’s familiar with blokes in the “progressive” movement. But like it or not, I’m disappointed every. single. time. Because I keep convincing myself that they really do want to be feminist allies. I keep trying to tell myself that they’re trying.”
    I’d argue that when they’re at their best, it’s true. It’s just that they’re not always at their best.

  2. I think you’re giving too much credit to “Lefty” Tim in the first place – he was a bloke on the make with some connections in some pubs on City Road who decided that being “progressive” was the way to go to win BB. He’s publicly discussed his own manipulation of the show. Being a “lefty” was just his schtick.

  3. My impression is that he identifies as a lefty, _and_ it’s his schtick. It’s one of the reasons he was so successful in playing the role at the time, because it wasn’t a total lie.
    Now, not so much.

  4. No, not a total lie. But I think perhaps more of a “lifestyle choice” than a matter of deep convictions, from what I hear from his contemporaries at Sydney Uni.

  5. *nod*, Mark, that wouldn’t surprise me.

  6. All this overt physical,verbal,sexual and racist harrasment on BB makes me question at what point the shows producers & the TV station are legally accountable for their role in enabling harassment?
    It’s been perpetrated by house mates, but the shows creators are actively complicit as 3rd parties by permitting it, censoring it and withholding assistance to those subject to it.
    The economic premise of reality TV shows is that it’s more profitable to capitalize on a media spectacle of “real people” competing than to fund media proffessionals developing original works.
    So…wouldn’t increasing that profit making “spectacle” by enabling actual harassment leave the producers open to workplace harrassment claims?
    Probably the house mates aren’t technically employees. But, wouldn’t the show have some duty of care? The harassment on BB could be illegal in a private dwelling and would be illegal in a workplace. So I wonder whether it is actually legal to publicize the same acts in a domestic dwelling as a media product?
    Even if it negatively affected ratings, it hasn’t stopped them enabling it or reduced awareness of the BB brand. Perhaps they need a contestant to sue to test the legalities and/or their profits?

  7. Tim Brunero is a warrior of the left and one example is working himself to exhaustion during the 2007 federal election (and prior) with ECM, almost single handedly destroying any chance of John Howard winning another term by revealing what WorkChoices was. That’s Tim Brunero.

  8. So? There are many men who are left activists who are still apologists for sexism, and it undermines any claim to genuine progressive attitudes. Brunero is being a classic sexist apologist, and he doesn’t get a free pass just because some other stuff he’s done may be admirable.

  9. Hey Steve,
    Now, isn’t that nice for Tim? Awww. I’m so grateful to him.
    But, guess what? NONE of that stops him from being a rape apologist.

  10. Plus, many LOLz at Timmy single-handedly defeating Howard. Didya bring his cape and mask to show off, Steve?

  11. Although never a fan a BB, this thread leaves me fascinated – and cold.
    I was sympathetic to Brunero, especially after he had an opportunity to prove his post BB credentials on the now defunct Workers Online*
    No more. What an arsehole.
    *Disclosure: I was employed for WO’s parent company for a time, but after Brunero left.

  12. So? There are many men who are left activists who are still apologists for sexism, and it undermines any claim to genuine progressive attitudes.

    Maybe we should rework Melissa’s ”If you’re not a feminist, you’re not a progressive.” for the Australian context?

  13. I think Tim appeared a lot smarter/more progressive/reasonable/savvy than he actually is when he was on BB because he was surrounded by a veritable swamp of people with limited brain capacity and very dodgy politics.
    His own scrambling to be one of the boys was fairly pathetic, as was his gradual morph from classic weedy dork with a bad haircut into slightly more muscular man about town with some weird hipster ‘do. He didn’t just scramble for acceptance from the alphas just to win the game – there was definite scrambling for approval somewhere in there.
    But to be honest, he really lost me when he started mooning over Kate. Girl was a Margaret Thatcher fan for fuck’s..plus, a total homophobe. But hey, she was cute and moderately smarter than the rest of the girls and that’s what Brunero wanted. Sadly (and forgive me if I sound cynical) reminiscent of many of the ‘progressive’ gents you’re talking about in the post Lauredhel. More feminist than the feminists but they still want to take a ditz to bed.

  14. I just realised I used the word ‘scrambling’ three times. So. Hung. Over.

  15. I seem to remember that he at least called her on the homophobia, but I don’t recall exactly.
    Hope you had a good time last night!

  16. this year there has been so much sexual harrasment aimed particularly at terri. Now Tim may write it off as boyish behaviour, which stupidly he knows he has said the wrong thing, and he will admit to that i am sure. no one has the right to sexual harrass another human being and BB should have acted a bit more harshly in every case. Since BB didnt it more or less got swept under the carpet, which is really sad for those of us who have been sexually harassed or who are being sexually harassed at work or school etc. If we report our sexual harassments will the people doing it to us be told STOP IT and then the matter swept under the carpet. and the people will go on sexually harassing people cause all they got was a STOP IT. and then these people who got a STOP IT will think hmmm i got away with that i might see if i can go further what if when they say no i take it as a yes. what harm can it do, i mean i only got a STOP IT and i groped her. they will probably say she was too drunk and cannot remember. oh i can get this i can win. you see how the media helps these people, you see how easy it is. BB should have done more than STOP IT. so i suggest if this show goes back on the air, which by the way i love bb any sexual harrasment gets the STOP IT out the door


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