A word from Deb

Demeaning sex talk in the workplace is not okay – my Don Burke experience


I recently added my own voice to the sexual harassment scandal surrounding celebrity gardener and TV producer Don Burke.

In an interview with The Australian, I have detailed my recollections of working with Don Burke and referenced an incident which occurred at my Rushcutters Bay apartment in the 1990s.

Don made an inappropriate sexual remark to me while the cameras were rolling and I couldn’t get him out of my home quick enough.

I have worked with Don Burke on several occasions and his behaviour towards myself and other women made me deeply uncomfortable. Many of you are probably wondering why I have taken so long to go public with my views?

I could probably ask you the same. How often have you let inappropriate comments or behaviour from a colleague slide?

The answer to “why now” is simple – I was asked and it was time.

When the incident occurred I was under contract with Channel Nine and as I told the Australian; “I felt I had to shut up and made the decision to avoid him in future.”

I knew one day it would eventually all come out. His inappropriate actions around women were widely known.

As this issue continues to escalate, I think it is important that people who worked with Don Burke or any other bully in a position of power share the truth of their experience. It is time for workplaces to change. No one deserves to be bullied, harassed or intimidated.

There are some ugly comments already directed towards the women who have chosen to speak out and it’s not okay. While we persecute the people who have the courage to report bad behaviour and suggest they asked for it, this culture of sexual discrimination and harassment will continue.

Let’s deal with this ugly issue and make our workplaces safer, happier and more productive.

Balance by Deborah Hutton actively supports your right to a safer workplace and has often provided a voice for sexual discrimination campaigners and support for women experiencing workplace bullying.

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Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton is the publisher of Balance by Deborah Hutton. She is passionate about helping woman to define their own recipe for balance

1 Comment

  1. Iris

    December 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    How many times have I let inappropriate behaviour and harassing comments slide? Every day that I came into contact with the boss in my last job. He was a rude, ill mannered and disrespectful bully. This continued even after I addressed the issue.
    At first, you let it slide because for the first few times, it is inconceivable that this could be happening. You almost do a double take because you at first think that you must not have heard right.
    I resigned when the behaviour continued.
    Life, however is an incredible leveller. Three months later, his business was closed under questionable circumstances and I have no doubt that it will be the fault or the rest of the world in his eyes

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