It’s summer and one way to pass the time is to watch the cricket. For gals as well as guys. But that entrenched bastion of blokiness, Channel Nine, it appears, is intent on keeping its cricket coverage a blokes only zone. The SMH reports this morning that Stephanie Brantz has been dumped from Nine’s cricket crew.
CHANNEL NINE’S on-air cricket team will be an all-male bastion once more this summer, with the axing of the sports presenter Stephanie Brantz the latest evidence of a network struggling to shake off the “blokey” culture that has dominated for decades.
When contacted by the Herald yesterday, Brantz claimed she was told by Nine sports bosses that no one on the Australian cricket team wanted to talk to her and this was one of the reasons that she had been frozen out of Nine’s cricket coverage.
But Cricket Australia disagrees:
A spokesman for Cricket Australia, Peter Young, said he was not aware of the cricketers having any problem with Brantz. “Not that I’m aware of and I’d be surprised if they did,” Young said. “They don’t have gender concerns and most of the players I know enjoy female company.”
He said Cricket Australia encouraged broadcasters to include women journalists in their coverage in an effort to lift the number of women watching above its current level of about 35 per cent of viewers.
I can’t see this as anything other than symptomatic of a fast declining old media organisation that’s unable to transcend the aggressive boys’ club culture that mirrored its long term boss Kerry Packer and whose aggression and relentless dysfunctional negativity has seen it dethroned from its perch.
Update: More at Crikey from Glen Dyer, who concentrates on how Brantz was frozen out by her male colleagues and superiors, and thus was denied the chance to do the job she was hired to do. It’s strikingly reminiscent of the treatment of Mary Kostakidis at SBS by another mob of commercial tv cowboys. I wonder if Brantz will take legal action – perhaps some redress from the courts might make these yahoos sit up and take notice.
It merely continues a long line of harassment, abuse and denigration of women reporters, presenters and executives at the Nine Network.
This is the second strike against the returned Nine CEO, David Gyngell. The first was Nine’s News and Current Affairs boss, John Westacott, telling reporter Christine Spiteri that she should look for a job at SBS with a “name like hers”.