It seems odd to me that Matthew Johns could engage in dubious, but legal, conduct and lose his job – and future employability – on that basis. He’ll probably never work in the areas he was, until today, employed in again. Fair? I’m not so sure.
What Johns did wasn’t nice. It was wrong by most definitions of the word, and It will cost the NRL money, it will cost Channel Nine money. But the media witch hunt has been appalling.
It seems particularly hypocritical for the network that brought us “turkey slapping” to stick a turkey with a microphone under John’s nose at an airport demanding an apology on behalf of a girl the reporter doesn’t know and has never met.
It also seems somewhat hypocritical for Australia’s leading newspapers to run such a witch hunt while they have these stories driving their online advertising revenue:
Update: Matthew Johns has now apologised to the woman in question in a pretty contrite interview with ACA (reported here).
“Johns, who was earlier stood down indefinitely from Channel Nine and the Melbourne Storm, said the incident was morally wrong but claimed the woman involved was not acting against her will.
“I did not commit an act of abuse to that woman,” Johns said in the taped interview with A Current Affair. “I am guilty of infidelity to my wife and guilty of absolute stupidity.”
“I would say that on the night when she came back to the room, she was a willing participant in everything that occurred.”
He also said that he was unaware of the effect the incident had caused the woman since the night, which he apologised for.
“Any trauma and embarrassment that she’s gone through as a result of this I’m extremely sorry for.”