explainer

Australia's most offensive podcast has just been pulled off the air. Thank God.

Content warning: This post discusses sexual assault and violence against women and may be triggering for some readers. 

Hump Day With Scotty And Swanny is one of Australia’s top 20 podcasts.

But yesterday, in the middle of a storm of controversy, the hosts announced they wouldn’t be making any more episodes.

“22 weeks of laughs among ourselves and ppl who chose to listen and be part of it,” the podcast’s Twitter account declared. “Thanks very much everyone. It was fun while it lasted.”

So what happened?

Who are Scotty and Swanny?

Scotty is Scott Cummings, who played for Essendon, Port Adelaide, West Coast Eagles and Collingwood in the AFL, winning the Coleman Medal in 1999 for being the AFL’s top goalscorer. Since retiring from football he’s worked in radio and for the Fox Footy Channel.

Swanny is former AFL player Dane Swan, who helped Collingwood to a premiership in 2010 and won the Brownlow Medal in 2011. He went on I’m A Celebrity in 2017 and finished runner-up to Casey Donovan.

The third person who was part of the Hump Day podcast was Ralph Horowitz, a former producer of The Footy Show, now working as a horse-racing analyst.

What did they say in the podcast that was so controversial?

In the June 18 podcast, the trio take up a suggestion by one of their listeners to search “dirty” and then their names on the website Urban Dictionary.

“A dirty Ralph… occurs when you try and sneak up behind a girl who is on all fours throwing up,” Cummings says.

“That’s not too bad,” Swan replies.

Cummings goes on to describe a “dirty Dane”, reading the definition from the website: “After a frustrating evening involving a lack of sexual activity a man is forced to pleasure himself through masturbation while the woman sleeps. He retaliates at the unwilling woman by spreading his love on her face, thereby causing her to wake up and mumble like a Danish person.”

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All three laugh.

Then comes the definition of a “dirty Scottie”, with the words “having sex with a fat woman in a pit of mud” and “shove her under and then right before you”. Parts of it are cut out by music.

The discussion ends with them all in fits of laughter, and is followed by comments about Scotty “wanking a lot in the corner”.

Who objected to the podcast?

Representatives from several domestic violence groups criticised the comments.

Domestic Violence Victoria’s acting CEO, Alison Macdonald, was quoted in the Herald Sun as saying that comments like Cummings’ could lead to more serious issues when they went unchecked.

“Flippant comments degrading women are often dismissed as trivial, harmless and even funny,” she said. “However, the evidence tells us that these attitudes contribute towards the social conditions that allow family violence and violence against women to continue unabated.”

What action was taken?

Cummings lost his radio role with 3AW Football.

“Although the comments were never aired on 3AW, we believe there is no platform appropriate for such remarks,” a statement put out by 3AW said. “Sexual assault is never a laughing matter. Jokes about sexual assault are never OK.”

He was also sacked from the TV show Footy WA, produced by Crocmedia.

“The comments made on Scott and Dane’s personal podcast are abhorrent, and completely inconsistent with our businesses values and respect for women and standing up against sexual abuse in society,” Crocmedia CEO Craig Hutchison said in the Herald Sun.

What did Scotty and Swanny say about it all?

Yesterday, Swan was defending the podcast on Twitter.

“If we had of ever said anything wrong or offensive we would of apologised but the fact is we have never have and I’ll debate anyone anywhere arguing that point,” he wrote. “When written down words can look horrible I get that but f**k me People need to get a grip.”

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However, Cummings made a public apology, saying the comments he made were “disrespectful and wrong”.

“It was insensitive and irresponsible to make light of sexual abuse and I am deeply sorry for any offence or triggered response caused by my actions,” he wrote.

He said he would be seeking guidance from Domestic Violence Victoria on how best to move forward.

“I am therefore stepping down from the podcast immediately and will take time to consider my words and reflect on my actions.”

Have they been caught up in controversy before?

In 2003, Swan was involved in a drunken brawl with security guards in Melbourne. He was sentenced to 100 hours community service. On I’m A Celebrity, he opened up about the brawl and how it had changed him.

“There’s no doubt the stuff that happened to me moulded me into the player I am and the person I am here today,” he said.

In 2012, Collingwood suspended Swan for two matches after he broke a team pledge to give up alcohol for the rest of the season.

Last week, in response to Israel Folau’s GoFundMe page, Swan set up one of his own, to fund a bender to Las Vegas.

“The last three-day bender I went on put a strain on me financially,” he said. “Whilst I can’t remember much of it, I was told it was pretty exxy.

“Here I am looking to secure $3 million for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas.”

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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