Mamamia journos receive fan threats after Sunrise spat
Digital publisher Mia Freedman has claimed that she and Jamila Rizvi received death and rape threats from TV fans following a spat with Sunrise presenters.PT1M36S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31ays 620 349 January 23, 2014
It started with a short fashion video on the website of Channel Seven's Sunrise, sparking a tabloid storm known as "strippergate". It has since devolved into rape and death threats against the editor of a popular women's website and her boss.
On Tuesday, Sunrise host Samantha Armytage joked she was wearing "stripper shoes". Her co-presenter, David Koch, then carried out a stripper's pole, which Armytage wrapped her leg around, prompting Koch to point to her shoes and say: "Be careful because they're quite reflective."
Sunrise's David Koch and Samantha Armytage vent their fury at Mamamia article.
The following day, Jamila Rizvi, editor of women's website Mamamia, wrote an article titled: "Dear Kochie. It's not okay to humiliate your colleague on television."
This morning, a furious Koch blasted Rizvi on his program, claiming she had painted him as "grubby" and that her article was a "character assassination". He also accused Mamamia's publisher, Mia Freedman, of cowardice, after the site failed to publish remarks he tried to post in the reader comments on Rizvi's article.
Armytage backed her colleague, telling viewers: "I don't like this part of the sisterhood that insists on running down men to be a feminist. I like the men I work with. I respect the men I work with. I won't do it and I won't be a part of it."
Mia Freedman defends Mamamia piece criticising Sunrise's David Koch. Photo: Lyn Mills
Freedman told Fairfax Media she hadn't seen this morning's seven-minute segment on Sunrise but it had been described to her.
"I'm surprised [Koch] reacted so aggressively towards one person writing her opinion because that's all it was," she said.
"While the debate on Mamamia has remained civilised, the result of this morning's tirade has been alarming and Jamila is shaken after receiving a number of death threats."
In the article, Rizvi claimed Armytage looked "embarrassed" and "uncomfortable", and the "sexist and demeaning" segment "made my stomach turn just a little".
She incorrectly wrote that the segment had been broadcast to hundreds of thousands of television viewers, later amending the piece to say it had appeared only online.
Addressing viewers today, Armytage said: "At no point was I humiliated at all ... I found it far more insulting to be labelled by a woman who doesn't know me, who obviously doesn't watch the show and who didn't know what was going on, who would describe me as a piece of eye candy for my male host, which is utterly ridiculous.
"I was not embarrassed. My dignity is still completely intact. I think that [article] was an insult to me, I think it was an insult to my family, it was an insult to my father [who] has certainly raised me to be a very strong woman."
Freedman says she and Rizvi are now both receiving "vile" messages and had arranged for a third party to record and delete each one.
"Nice one Twitter," posted Freedman just before midday.
Koch also accused Mamamia of censorship for failing to publish the response he submitted in the reader comments section of Rizvi's article – until he posted it on Twitter.
Koch read out a private tweet Freedman had sent him and suggested she was not being truthful when she claimed to have been "offline" earlier.
"Well Mia, you were tweeting all day, including when I was on Twitter ... so you weren't offline, or someone else [hacked] your Twitter."
Freedman responded: "I was at The Lion King with my children having the most wonderful afternoon ... you're not allowed to have your phone on in the theatre.
"I knew the post was being published but I wasn't aware of his reaction to it until much later in the day when I had time to go online. I chose not to get involved publicly and instead to contact him privately."
Freedman said Koch's comments on Mamamia were deleted by "an overzealous moderator" who was unfamiliar with the website's policy.
"As soon as Jamila became aware of this, it was immediately reinstated ... we would never knowingly censor someone from putting forward their point of view in as respectful way as David did."
Channel Seven has been contacted for comment.