The former leader of the Labor party and now Sky News broadcaster, Mark Latham, is facing a possible legal action after he described the media commentator and personality Wendy Harmer as a “female with a disability” and suggested she could only get a job at the “sheltered workshop” that was the ABC.
According to reports on The Australian, Harmer’s solicitors have sent the News Corp-owned Sky News a letter demanding an apology after Latham made the comments on its Outsiders program on Sunday. Latham also labelled Harmer as a “proven commercial failure”.
Harmer had tweeted her concerns about Latham’s attitude to Sky staff last Friday. Her tweets read: “I subscribe @foxtel and I’m deeply unimpressed by some of @SkyNewsAust offerings. Fix it or I’m off” and “Happy to watch a range of views on @SkyNewsAust – but not character assassination and unhinged ranters.”
Harmer, who has a cleft palate, has been a successful media presenter for two decades, including an 11-year stint at Sydney’s 2Day FM. She presently hosts Mornings for ABC Radio Sydney.
Latham’s comments, that won’t endear him to Sky bosses, follow on from similar comments he made last week about former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally who he described her as a “protege” of Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid who was jailed for corruption last December.
In his attack on Harmer, Latham said: “Wendy Harmer has put it out there on Twitter that if Sky doesn’t do something about people like us she’ll be ditching her Foxtel arrangement.
“Now Wendy, of course, we know her well. She’s a proven commercial failure, so naturally she got a job at ABC radio at the sheltered workshop there for all the leftys. She fits the criteria, she’s female, she’s got a disability – that’s what they mean by diversity,” he said.