BRETT BAKER AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3081

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Headline, Comment and fact

Overview

Brett Baker complained about a column by Rosemary McLeod published by Stuff on March 19, 2021 headlinedWhy don’t men do something about sexual assault.

The column was commenting on the murder of the British woman Sarah Everard who disappeared after leaving a friend’s house at about 9.30pm to walk home. A London police officer was subsequently charged with her kidnapping and murder. The crime sparked an international outcry about the danger that women face when they walk alone at night.

Mr Baker said the headline and column were inflammatory, insulting to the majority of men who were not perpetrators and the insinuation they do nothing was offensive and misleading. Harassment was also not just a male thing. Expecting men to do something was unrealistic and framing everyone as a villain for not doing this was too simplistic. Mr Baker said this was offensive to him and he presumed it was also offensive to his entire gender.

The column was an opinion piece and clearly presented as such. Material facts on which the opinion was based were also accurate and as such the article met the requirements of Media Council Principle 4. Mr Baker may have been offended but as the Council has noted before people do not have a right to be not offended.

There are insufficient grounds for the complaint to proceed.

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