The 2017 John Profumo Cup

Greetings Tipsters

 

You want a sex scandal? The English lords know all about that. Getting caught trussed up in lingerie is an easy day’s work for the chaps who invented the Hellfire Club. So – the ‘AFL sex scandal’ headline is a wee bit overwrought.

 

But it attracts more attention than ‘Adults engage in consensual sex’ so print the legend.

 

Sean and Richard are married men, they betrayed their wives and children, they were idiotically irresonsponsible and should have known better. Ali and Maddi knew what they were getting into. People do stupid shit to their lives sometimes.

 

Whose lives have been improved by Gillo’s actions? Certainly not the four people directly involved, nor the families who have been embarassed nationwide and are now without an income.

 

“Why did Dad get the sack?”

 

“He kissed a lady at the office.”

 

“Mum’s gonna be super angry. But why did he get the sack?”

 

Oh Aragorn, scion of Southtralia, wielder of the sword of justice, wilt thou explaineth to the low and simple? We are but base creatures, too easily swayed toward sins of the flesh.  Ye hath wisdom, borne on the ancient seat of Rosebank, wilt thou absolve me of my sin?  I hath layed with several women I shared a workspace with, I even married one, then did divorce her.

 

People are gonna be people. Aragorn sacked two topline executives cos they shagged women who’ve been lying low lest they be more collateral damage in his quest for a better world. What have you lost in skill and knowledge, is it worth your moral point? Who granted you the right to judge, to reveal the private affairs of folks to the world?

 

“The people involved are allowed to deal with the personal and family matters out of the public sphere.” Easy to say now. I read the press releases, concrete prose writ by a lunkhead, the AFL is on a “journey” to name and shame.

 

You’re a sanctimonious prick, Aragorn. To hell with you and your judgementalism. The Swans v Monaros game was a beauty. Good thing too, cos I feel a bit unclean watching the product of your corporation.

 

Cheers Tipsters

 

P&C, A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Enterprises.

Brought to you with the assistance of James Carr’s sublime ‘Dark End Of The Street’

 

 

 

 

About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

Comments

  1. Well said, Earl.
    It’s like the old US Marine slogan in Vietnam, “We had to burn that village to save it from Communism.”
    Infantilising women. (Mind you, if either of the women were directly subordinate to the men then you do have a problem. But no need to napalm the village.)

  2. Peter_B says:

    Pretty much agree with you Earl. My only difference is that the meedja had done all the “outing” and Aragorn was just the bloke following the horse with the shovel. My reading of the weekend fish and chip wrappers suggests this was open knowledge for the best part of a year in the tea room at Harrison House. When did the scales drop from Aragorn’s eyes? Sweeping out from under the table matters previously swept in?
    And what pray tell did these “fair damsels” need protecting from? My reading is that they weren’t the 17yo work experience lasses doing the filing. Blokes think with their dicks, and rarely follow through on commitments made when trying to get into your pants? Who knew? I thought that was Sisterhood 101.
    Caveat Diktor.

  3. ajc – love the burn the village analogy. How pathetic have we become?

  4. Cat from the Country says:

    The people involved did nothing illegal or criminal, just stoopid.
    The two men will probably loose their families.
    I don’t see it does anything for the AFL to take the moral high ground.
    Afterall, look at all the infidelity in Clubs over the years?
    Did North sack Carey after his lapse?
    I don’t condone extra marital liaisons, but this is the real world and people screw up their lives in all manner of silly ways

  5. I am so sad to see people show superior with money and positions and others taking advantages of them (in this case their mistresses).

    As a person who is struggling with finding a love, the news is so disgusting. Morals and hardworking are no longer valued, I think.

    I feel sorry to these creepy guys’ wives and kids….

  6. I am genuinely interested in a feminist/gendered reading of this issue. If anyone would like to offer. I’m interested in the treatment of all parties, the representation of the women in texts (media reports) and what it says about the AFL.

  7. Agree with pretty much all of the above.

    Media took a sensationalist angle and forced the issue, as they do. Sanctimonious Caro joined in the clickbait fun then claimed she played no part in magnifying the fallout. Gill thought he was doing the right PC thing then probably regretted the knee jerk reaction he had to stand by. If only he’d handled it discreetly behind closed doors when he first knew about it, as per most organisations. Gill cops it from Caro, calls him ‘dishevelled’… Huh? Ultimately everyone has paid a much higher price than need be. The willing female participants have been named, shamed, patronised & diminished. The wives have suffered enough without a media storm to boot. This whole brouhaha wasn’t worthy of the Woman’s Day, let alone every mainstream media outlet. Strange days indeed.

  8. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Thanks Earl. I thought Gay Alcorn’s piece in the Guardian raised some things worth reflecting on. The repeated use of the word ‘young’ in relation to the women. The correlation (or seemingly lack thereof) between events and resignation. The significance (or seemingly lack thereof) of consent. The muddying of the private and public. The positing of the women involved as victims and the self assigned haloing of McLachlan and/or the AFL as protector. I did like the way she likened listening to Gillon as listening to the head of the Presbyterian church!

    I thought you were wise, JTH to make a distinction on Offsiders between the events themselves and the public reporting of events and to ask that we look at the two things without crossing them into a single event. (As a woman I abhorred Caroline Wilson’s response!) Most people don’t seem to have the patience or desire for complexity to do just that. It seems that we need one box or the other to be ticked. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Now onto the next thing.

    I would love to offer a careful gendered reading. It might just take me a lifetime though …

  9. Rick Kane says:

    Sorry Earl, I don’t get your argument. Is it about the media or organisational culture and practices? Are you saying sometimes a fuck is just a fuck? Even the song you included at the end doesn’t argue that.

    I find your subjectivity is too exposed. On the one hand you appear to be measured about human drives and desires but you employ language that forces the reader into your groove.

    For example, What is Dark End of the Street here for? It’s not a random choice. Why not Long Black Veil? What both songs acknowledge is that there are repercussions for such decisions and dalliances and those repercussions can be unpredictable and stark. You know, like what happened to Sean and Richard.

    But back to the piece. What you leave out Earl is that Sean and Richard also betrayed their roles in the organisation and the organisation’s values. Which is why the matter was dealt with in the manner it was. Leaving such relevant factors out gives you leeway to go for the monster you want to attack. But it actually denies the central issue. The indiscretion as best I can read it was not about consenting adults who went for it but related to power, real and imagined, in the workplace as in society. An Executive has a power. They get paid handsomely for that. They get rewarded above their salary and bonuses too.

    As I understand the matter Gillo (does giving him a nickname lessens his value?) did not make the decision. The Board did. As is in its power.

    Also, no marks for your (highly subjective) straw man question about whose lives have been improved by this process and decision. Two men (Sean and Richard) and two women (Ali and Maddi) are responsible for the answer to that question. In Dark End of the Street the adulterer hides in the shadows. In Long Black Veil the adulterer dies! rather than divulge the relationship.

    At this point in your essay you tangle the lines between media coverage and expected responsible workplace behaviour. Again, these grown men took senior executive positions in a company that has an extremely high media profile. They are not babes in the woods. Of course indiscretions would be amplified working for such an organisation. I dare say the size of their salary and bonuses are also amplified being attached to the organisation and its presence and value to Australian society. So, one hand giveth (to oversimplify).

    Again, important point of order. They weren’t sacked. They didn’t even have their jobs terminated. They resigned. And I wouldn’t dare speculate on the package they walked away with?

    Finally, what is with this silly dialogue you introduce? Psst, the kid sounds like you and what your view is. He didn’t kiss a lady. What, are we in 1952? I would hope that when this (poorly) imagined kid says “mum is going to be super angry but why did he get the sack?” that the adult corrects the notion of sacking vs resignation and then explains how adults make commitments and we do our best to stick to them but if we don’t we suck it up and accept the consequences. That we strive to be better versions of ourselves and our parents and bring together everything we learn and appreciate to do that. And if we stuff up we accept the consequences. Then play the kid Long Black Veil.

    This matter isn’t about a bit of slap and tickle it is about power and in a place where men have dominated. If the organisation is over sensitive to upholding its policies I say good on it.

    At some point it crossed the mind of each of the protaganists that they might get a f**k that night but tomorrow they would be f**ked. Sean and Richard knew what they were doing. Life goes on.

  10. Earl O'Neill says:

    Rick, to your first two questions: organisational culture and practices; not this time.
    Unlike your detailed reply, my writing is a visceral reaction with a weakness for inferred ellipses, nothing is thought through. I enjoyed your analysis, disagree with your interpretation. You assume a power dynamic, ascribe values to an organisation… we’ve a fundamental difference of opinion.
    ‘Dark End Of The Street’ is a random choice, the first song about adultery that came to mind. It’s a great song so why not.

  11. Rick Kane says:

    Hi Earl

    No worries.

    Dark End is a fantastic song, a fave. Love Gram’s version. Can I suggest another more contemporary song with a similar theme? Drive of Shame, a duet between Brad Paisley and Mick Jagger, if only for the intro and Mick’s magnificent drawl as he sings the word Chevrolet.

    Cheers

  12. Peter_B says:

    “Well he would say that wouldn’t he”.

  13. Punx Pete says:

    “At some point it crossed the mind of each of the protagonists that they might get a f**k that night but tomorrow they would be f**ked.”

    That sums up the human condition better than anything I’ve heard in a long time (kudos Rick!)

    I wonder how Caro felt when the guillotine came down on Sean and Richard? Vindicated? Justified? A little unclean?

    Did she wonder about the collateral damage impacted upon the wives and kids and extended families?

    Hypothetical: if Caro hadn’t of reported it, the AFL would have had a bit of leverage to discipline all concerned, without having to cause so much destruction, I venture.

    I have no issue with Gill and the AFL board: once the story made the papers, they had to do what was necessary to protect the brand. Caro and her fellow muckrakers are the ones with blood on their hands … and their fangs

  14. Sean Curtain says:

    I was quite interested in both the decision and coverage but also the ensuing debate and can see both sides.

    My interest I suppose came from being in HR and seeing the role that AFL HR was asked to play in the matter.

    Moral considerations aside and any views on commandments or ethics, the case would have been extremely interesting had the two been fired. And even then, the involvement of the Commission seems to be a potential case for constrictive dismissal.

    I can see and accept how in work relationships like this, especially when they are covert, even between consenting adults, can cause issues. There two men were extremely senior, the partners less so, and I can see and now that this causes problems for the managers of the women when it comes to impressions of favoritism, and being very difficult to manage them.

    However, the two women concerned made no claims of harassment or abuse, and so, again, moral considerations aside, people haven’t been hurt within the organisation.

    If people have and will be hurt outside the organisation, that is extremely sad, but usually not a responsibility of the organisation. While that might cause one to question the wisdom and judgement of the two senior men and if that poor general decision making permeated into commercial areas, we don’t know if that meant that they made poor decisions in other parts of their work, or had a conflict, and it hasn’t seemed to have impacted performance,. Actually, my reading is that the workforce is actually disrupted by their departures, whereas usually, harassers and liars usually see their departures celebrated.

    Workplaces are common environments for relationships, illicit and acceptable. The hours required of senior people in these roles would mean that this can occur. Should it is not a question for here, as these are again moral questions that have different interpretations.

    Gil has now set a high mark that other decisions will be measured by.

    The naming of the women is also of concern. A colleague of mine who knows one of the women said they are distressed by their naming, and many women are wondering why they would ever make a claim in future, if their privacy cannot be protected.

    Policies and values/beliefs of the organisation were not broken. Moral codes maybe were, but the issue seems to be the marital status of the men, not anything else. Single people within the AFL are permitted to carry on relationships at work, covert and overt. Another senior exec apparently is in one, both single people, and that’s how Andrew Deremtriou met his wife.

    As an HR person, if I was involved, I would have seen that the positions of the two individuals would call into question their judgement and that their actions would have caused difficulties within the place. I think the CEO would have been within his rights to say to the two of them, your business is just that, but strongly consider if you should be doing it at work.

    But sacking them, or let’s be honest, making it clear to them that they should resign, is too much.

    Sean

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