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'I just want to move on': Mel McLaughlin accepts Chris Gayle's apology

Sports reporter Mel McLaughlin has accepted Chris Gayle's apology, saying she just wanted to "move on".

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Mel McLaughlin: 'I just want to move on'

In this interview from January, Mel McLaughlin addresses Chris Gayle's comments, saying she ultimately wants to move on from the incident. Courtesy The Project, 6.30pm weekdays on Ten.

The West Indian cricket star drew heavy criticism after cracking onto McLaughlin as she was conducting a post-innings interview during a live broadcast on Network Ten.

" I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well. This is the reason why I'm here. Just to see your eyes for the first time," Gayle said as audible sniggers emanated from the commentators' mics.

Mel McLaughlin told The Project she would rather be reporting than at the centre of a story.
Mel McLaughlin told The Project she would rather be reporting than at the centre of a story. Photo: Channel Ten

"So hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after. Don't blush, baby," he said.

"I'm not blushing," McLaughlin replied, visibly uncomfortable. 

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When McLaughlin attempted to steer the interview back to the cricketer's form, asking about an injury, Gayle responded: "I'm looking forward to recovering well, and looking in your eyes".

"I'm going to leave it on that note. Well done, thanks," McLaughlin said, before moving out of shot and away from Gayle, who reached out to pat her on the back. 

Ten Network reporter Mel McLaughlin during the uncomfortable exchange with Chris Gayle.
Ten Network reporter Mel McLaughlin during the uncomfortable exchange with Chris Gayle. Photo: Channel Ten

On Tuesday night McLaughlin told Channel Ten's The Project that the encounter was "certainly unexpected" and "obviously a bit disappointing", before the sports journalist recapped Gayle's innings performance.

"I would have much preferred to be talking about that instead," she said. 

"I love my job": McLaughlin said she had not personally experienced stigma as a woman reporting on sport.
"I love my job": McLaughlin said she had not personally experienced stigma as a woman reporting on sport.  Photo: Channel Ten

Gayle's comments have caused a media furore in Australia and internationally, spawning countless news articles, opinion pieces and social media tussles debating whether the comments were workplace harassment or a harmless flirtation. 

"I'm a little bit uncomfortable. I'm not used to being at the centre of any sort of story," McLaughlin said. 

Chris Gayle faces the media following his comments to sports journalist Mel McLaughlin.
Chris Gayle faces the media following his comments to sports journalist Mel McLaughlin. Photo: Josh Robenstone

"This one certainly escalated, but I'm OK," she said. 

The sports reporter said she had not spoken to Gayle personally since Monday's night's interview, but said she had heard him make his apology at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. 

"I accept that," McLaughlin said.

"I just want to move on."

McLaughlin has become an unwitting poster girl for the struggle against sexual harassment, particularly among women who report or work in the sporting industries. 

But McLaughlin said she had never personally felt targeted.

"There's a certain stigma that people like to talk about with women in sport. I haven't felt that," she said.

"Yes it's meant something to a lot of female journos, men as well as women in general. It's certainly snowballed.

"I love my job and I'd just rather be talking about that," she said before ending the interview by tipping the Strikers for a win against the Scorchers in Tuesday night's Big Bash bout. 

Gayle has avoided suspension over the incident, but was fined $10,000 by the Renegades. The money will be donated to The McGrath Foundation.

Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry said Gayle had been spoken to, with the club making it clear his behaviour was unacceptable.

"Chris' comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful. There is simply no place for these type of comments at the Melbourne Renegades," Coventry said in a statement.

 

We hear Mel Mclaughlin's response to the Chris Gayle interview #TheProjectTV

Posted by The Project on  Monday, January 4, 2016