Imagine if the ABC had just listened to survivors and cut him from the panel in the first place.
Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet, who was recently accused of sexual harassment, will no longer appear on Q&A‘s #MeToo special episode, which is due to air tonight.
Instead, he’s been “withdrawn” at seemingly the last possible minute, “because of concerns about his appearance expressed to him by the NSW Bar Association”.
The ABC announced Waterstreet’s withdrawal and the Bar Association’s involvement in a short statement on its website this morning, saying that “it is disappointing Mr Waterstreet will not be able to contribute to the perspectives canvassed in tonight’s discussion”.
Some of Q&A’s viewers pretty loudly disagree on that point, though. The initial news that someone accused of harassment had been invited to join a panel about a movement centred on empowering the survivors of similar alleged abuse was met with pretty vocal opposition.
Anti-sexual assault advocate Nina Funnell, who worked on the investigation that revealed allegations against Waterstreet, was particularly outraged by the decision to give him a platform on the panel while she and other women with expertise on the subject were only asked to sit in the audience.
The ABC has announced that alleged sexual harasser Charles Waterstreet will be on the Q&A #MeToo special. They invited me 2 sit in the audience. Women do not need men to explain sexual harassment to us. Men should sit in audience & listen as women explain it. Get me on the Panel!
— Nina Funnell (@ninafunnell) January 23, 2018
Waterstreet has been accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace by multiple women now, including 21-year-old paralegal Tina Huang, who alleged that Waterstreet showed her porn during her job interview, and discussed sex parties and threesomes.
Waterstreet has denied the claims against him.
When Junkee contacted the NSW Bar Association to ask what concerns they had expressed, they weren’t aware of the existence of the ABC’s statement. We’ve asked them for comment and will update this post if they respond.
As far as we know, the Q&A panel will now just go ahead with other previously announced members, including employment lawyer Josh Bornstein, journalist Janet Albrechtsen, academic Catharine Lumby, and Preatures lead singer Isabella Manfredi.