We have heard and read plenty about Kyle Sandilands in the past couple of days, starting with his “Night with the Stars” calamity on Channel 7 (more commented upon than seen), through comments on his radio show about reporting about that program. His petty, misogynistic targetting of the reporter’s personal appearance, however, should hardly be a surprise to anyone who can recall other examples of similar attacks and Kyle’s personal style. He is employed as a “provocative” host who “says what he thinks” and paid handsomely for that on multiple platforms.
Kyle Sandilands is a very popular figure amongst teenagers and young adults simply because he acts in a way that many would want to be allowed to act. The naughty school child who gets away with stuff. I remember when the the Magda Szubanski “Concentration Camp” stuff hit the ariwaves, I asked students what they thought of Sandilands. First, most hadn’t heard of the Holocaust and second, they liked his ability to say things they would like to say. These children live vicariously through him and what he says. This explains his ubiquity on the television, radio and newspapers.
The truth about Sandilands – and one to which he would have readily admitted to himself in the past, I’m guessing – is that Sandilands has no reason to be considered knowledgeable about anything, certainly not enough to be a judge on a musical talent program. It was a mystery what he brought to Australian Idol, for example, other than a reputation for saying “what others are thinking” – according to Kyle at least. Therefore, there should have been questions somewhere along the line about why he had a job in the media at all, considering his lack of knowledge and skill in nothing else other than reacting like an adolescent.
This is why I contend that the problem lays not necessarily with Sandilands, it lays with the media organisations that employ him and report on his activities. It is irresponsible for any media outlet to employ someone who does not act in an adult, mature fashion, instead acting without consideration toward societal expectations and responsibilities. He should not be working for any of them – that he still does indicates those organisations’ lack of care towards various groupings in society – especially women. They seem to be just focused on the revenue he rakes in for them with his trolling for reaction. Any media organisation that gives him the oxygen that he is apparently “thieving” should not be giving him more oxygen but instead just not reporting on him at all. News Ltd, especially, have dedicated a lot of space in their media to stoking his ego, through positive and negative reporting. Nor should they be, like David Penberthy has in the Punch, using Sandilands style language to describe him – that is just playing to his subterranean ethical standard. The rest of the Penberthy piece was spot on about Sandilands and his misogynistic history – but it’s hardly news to anyone.
The solution is simple – don’t employ him, don’t report on him. That will have far more impact than calling him a piece of misogynistic shit. Yes, we know he is, but he likes the publicity. And that is the problem.