Nine: we’re still the one… for sexism

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.

stephanie brantz

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”.

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Posted in feminism, media, television
42 comments on “Nine: we’re still the one… for sexism
  1. kimberella says:

    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”.

  2. Bernice says:

    Perhaps Nine & Cricket Oz might like to peer into their collective crystal marketing balls while searching for the answer to falling audiences & crowds. Though one suspects they’d still see their own gleaming certainties. Needless to say I won’t be toddling pitch side with the brood this summer – too expensive, & not really the sort of values I want the kiddies to have any more exposure to than they already do.

  3. David Rubie says:

    I dimly recall a cricket thread last season, and things seem to have gotten worse since then. I suspect Brantz is somewhat of a victim of the whole sporting male mindset. She isn’t blonde and probably doesn’t respond to veiled sexual advances via text message, so she’s unacceptable to the crowd that worships Warne as some kind of god. Meanwhile, Cricket Oz and Channel Nein continue to support the slide into empty showmanship via 20/20 cricket. The game itself marginalised in favour of thumping music, fire eaters and caged jugglers while the sideshow in the centre turns into a series of dud balls served up to gladiators thumping them over the fence in displays of brute stupidity over skill and cunning.

    As cricket descends into a 1930’s style travelling show and cricket turns into a 10-in-1 closed tent, with freaks, pickled punks and sword swallowers, I can imagine Ms Brantz might be welcomed back into the fold in the traditional female roles: bearded lady or stripper. F*ck em, I won’t be watching much cricket on the TV this year, there’s plenty of local fixtures where you can sit down for free on the grass and watch an amiable game.

  4. Futt Bucker says:

    ’twas just wondering the other day if Brantz would be back after “debuting” during the Ashes series last summer. It’s a shame really but I still appreciate her work on Channel 9’s National Basketball League coverage on Sunday mornings and hope that it is to continue. I’m pretty sure she worked at SBS prior to joining Nine too.

  5. Pollytickedofff says:

    “Perhaps Nine & Cricket Oz ”

    “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”

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/cricket/ashes-to-ashes–thats-another-maiden-over/2007/12/12/1197135558027.html

  6. FDB says:

    Bummer. She was insightful and a breath of fresh non-blokey air.

  7. mbahnisch says:

    I’m pretty sure she worked at SBS prior to joining Nine too.

    She used to host the sports half hour at 7pm before they introduced the hour long news.

  8. Darlene says:

    Blech, so how many women members of the crew have they had? And how long do they give them?

    No non-blokey air while watching the cricket.

  9. mbahnisch says:

    I think Brantz was the only one ever, Darlene.

  10. Alex says:

    That’s fucking disgusting…Further reason to turn the Tele off, and ABC radio on! In fact last year, ABC cricket were using former champion Aussie cricketer, Belinda Clarke, as a commentator.

  11. Darlene says:

    What about that former actress (Kate somebody?). Can anyone elaborate?

  12. Pollytickedofff says:

    Darlene,

    “In the early 1980s, the actress and cricket fan Kate Fitzpatrick was recruited by Nine as a commentator but lasted only one Test before being pulled off air on the orders of the network’s owner, Kerry Packer.”

    From the same SMH article I linked to earlier.

  13. John Greenfield says:

    Polly

    If you are aware of why Kate Fitzpatrick was put there by Packer in the first place, you would understand why she was subesequently removed. 😉

  14. Helen says:

    (Channel 9 executive yells into phone): “Yeah Bratz. Yeah. She didn’t come up to expectations. She was supposed to be, you know, pneumatic, with built-in prosthetic 6 inch heels and no nose…

    …You what?…

    Brantz? How was I supposed to know that? I thought she’d be one of those sexy Bratz chicks and we could do all these, you know, cross promotions…”

  15. Pollytickedofff says:

    John,

    yes, I know why she was put there. I was simply answering the question asked, not commenting on her performance or removal.

  16. John Greenfield says:

    Helen

    WE are talking about a sports program here, not a Jane Austen conference for English teachers.

  17. dj says:

    Yes, Kate Fitzpatrick. I think they had Zoe Goss commentate a few times as well, but I could be wrong as I don’t really watch it much any more since I stopped playing quite a few years ago.

  18. David Rubie says:

    Greenfield wrote:

    If you are aware of why Kate Fitzpatrick was put there by Packer in the first place, you would understand why she was subesequently removed.

    Ya tosser. David Hill hired her, not the Goanna. He fired her and never supported her being hired in the first place.

  19. Pollytickedofff says:

    “Yeah Bratz. Yeah. She didn’t come up to expectations”

    LOL.

    John obviously missed the joke though.

  20. FDB says:

    Helen, that was funny.

  21. glen says:

    australian crickters should rebuke ch9 honchos for being out of touch and demand brantz be reinstated, this should repair some of their tarnished bogan image

    the game should transcend reactionary gender plays. greater representation by strong and intelligent women participating in the practice of media representation can only be a good thing to help THE GAME

  22. Paul Burns says:

    It’s not just the cricket or other sports shows like the Footy show. The Today Show does an excellent job of inculcating boys with values I suspect many of us would prefer they didn’t have, and its not much ameliorated by the two women presenters or the little gay guy from Hollywood. But they do try. But I suspect generally they’re too subtle with their protests for the 6000 odd yobbos who watch it,to get it, among whom is yours truly.
    Though Julia does take them down a peg or two, as did Rudd recently.

  23. paul walter says:

    Firstly Kate Fitzpatrick. A long time ago and was, indeed the ABC. She apparently loved the game to bits and had not the first idea how to commentate it- I know, I was listening.
    Poorly thought out presentation from the minders, as with Nicole Cornes during the election?
    Stephanie Brantz used to do the sports commentary on SBS, didn’t she? Surely she must know a bit about sport? Or hasn’t she the prerequesite knowledge of the rules, objectives etc of cricket ( after all, many women loath football and cricket as much as blokes loath soap opera )?
    Cricket is complicated, esoteric and a ritual as much as a sport.
    But drawing loosely on terminology from above concerning “crystal balls”, I must say I’m gobsmacked that any bloke worth his wouldn’t want to “talk” to Stephie Brantz. Back to the stores and hand them in, forthwith, you disgraces to the male sex!
    But when you consider what the barbarians at Nine have done to cricket, you should never be surprised that Brantz would be incomprehensible to them; a pearl before swine.

  24. mbahnisch says:

    Stephanie Brantz used to do the sports commentary on SBS, didn’t she? Surely she must know a bit about sport?

    http://www.celebrityspeakers.com.au/brspeaker_bio.asp?Speaker_Index_Text=520

    Originally from Brisbane, Stephanie Brantz is a self-confessed ‘sport nut’ and has represented her home state in the codes of netball, basketball and also swimming before her modelling career called for a move to Sydney.

  25. zebbidies spring says:

    after all, many women loath football and cricket as much as blokes loath soap opera

    I detest televised sport and quite enjoy Australian soaps. They’ve got the best writing around.

    Also, the older guys who hang around sport with their machismo, hail-fellow-well-met and preposterous guts are just ridiculous.

    And Warney is a mediocre human being.

  26. Bruce over at the garage says:

    I’m so glad I managed to read through all this material. It really does reinforce all the reasons that I have not watched Ch9/WIN for more than 4 years. Eddy McEverywhere is a complete twat. It also reinforces the reasons that I no longer support the once great Carlton Football Club ie the arrogant criminal John Elliott and now the corrupt criminal Richard Pratt.

  27. paul walter says:

    Well, well- ” a self confessed sports nut”, eh.
    It’s phenomenal how many women doing presenting on commercial tv are recruits from sbs and abc. Obviously something in the culture in public broadcasting that encourages genuinely talented women to progress as people and as professionals.
    As for Warne, his natural cricketing ability just astounded me. Like Greg Chappell and Dennis Lillee, just a natural and facinating to watch him weave his magic. As far his character and personality, I was never was much interested. What he did in his private life never interested me, accept as in offering up yet another example of the damage precocious fame does to many inexperienced young people.

  28. Andrew E says:

    The fact that people are turning off Ch9 imposes a far greater sanction than anything that might come from lobby groups or regulators. I’d love to see Laurie Oakes asking Gillard/ Roxon/ Macklin/ Wong for an interview and them reply: nah, you don’t want to talk to me, I’m just a chick.

    I’m not convinced that the cricketers have anything to do with this. The whole reprising of World Series Cricket earlier this year, and the recent furore over contracts in India, seemed to be a coded warning to the cricketers from Ch9: we made you, don’t mess with us. The cricketers are being tarnished but they’re not going to shirtfront Ch9.

  29. paul walter says:

    Off thread but since this is a Kimberella thread, I’ll mention here that Kimber was right in offering criticism of me a couple of days ago for lack of patience. Specifically, it was mentioned that the Arukun thing was being covered in Saturday Salon, but I thought this meant belatedly this weekend and because there is sometimes politics is off limits at Saturday Salon and we were into the week a fair way, It didnt dawn on me to investigate.
    I should have thought to check the thing out, and thus missed out on reading an interesting thread . Admittedly I’m not that regular here. Its the only excuse I can think of for not thinking to check the thread out.
    Sorry.

  30. Futt Bucker says:

    I agree this is all Channel Nine. I believe the Aussie cricket team has had a female physio for years who has even joined them in “team bonding sessions”. My fave Channel Nine moment of the Election campaign? Howard finally turning on them with that worm business. Channel Nine has always looked after the conservatives while punching out their propaganda to the Libs desired demographic and they got their back up big time when Howard opened up on them. Here in Adelaide at least it was stunning how quickly their reports started becoming slanted towards Labor with the odd slipper or two finding it’s way into the Libs.

  31. Must admit I just watch the telly with the sound off while listening to the ABC, and I agree with Andrew E that it’s most likely not the players themselves. Warnie isn’t representative of the whole team, and the cricketers I’ve met (a couple from the national team, and quite a few state players) do not come across as sexist twits, or boors. A couple even made private comments to the effect that certain telly commentators (we can probably guess which ones) make them cringe.

  32. Guido says:

    Channel 9 is a disgrace.

    The worst offender in overblowing minor incidents in the A-league as ‘full blown soccer riots’.

    Obvioulsy few people misbehaving at the football, or just shouting to the opposition fans is ethnic driven hate full scale hooliganism, while ‘yobbos at the cricket’ that throw billiard balls and scalding hot food are just a few larrikins letting off steam, and does not rate a mention on their news bulletins.

  33. Katz says:

    Ratty lost a huge political asset the day that Kerry Packer ceased to have further use for that donated kidney.

    Channel 9 turned feral.

  34. Paul Burns says:

    Not that feral, Katz. They were setting up the case for a campaign aginst regulation of petrol pricing this morning, with a chap from RACV just in case Swann tries to do too much about petrol pricing control.Methinks the Labor bashing is about to begin again.
    On the other hand they do deserve bouguets for getting behind Greenpeace’s anti- humpback whaling campaign. Links to petition on Today Show site if anyone’s interested.

  35. Sam Ward says:

    Larvatus Prodeo hates sport and the stupid bogans that watch sport. Someone knock me down with a feather.

    It’s no surprise the players won’t talk to her. Most sportspeople see sports journos as people who are out to get them, and usually they are right. That’s why most of the successful ones are ex-players themselves, because they can relate to one another.

    All the Australian Cricketers hate Tony Greig too, but they can’t snub him because of what he personally did for cricket, packer and channel 9. All the other commentators are ex-Australian players with the exception of Mark Nicholas (who they all hate).

    And for the record she was vacuous and had an annoying voice.

    I’m sure they just sacked her because she has a vagina though.

  36. darlenetaylor says:

    “Larvatus Prodeo hates sport and the stupid bogans that watch sport. Someone knock me down with a feather.”

    Bollocks, I grew up watching the rugby league, and I still think it’s a good game. My mum is a season ticket holder for The Broncos. As for vacuous and annoying voice, well, no male sports commentators can be accused of possessing those.

  37. John Ryan says:

    Good God,Bloody Cricket,to say I,m not a fan is an understatement,never sure which is more boring Cricket or AFL,I object to the way it just takes over ABC 720 here in Perth,why can,t they put in on News Radio.
    Bunch of overpaid bores,not a bit of sportsmanship among the lot of them,but then we put up with a lot of second rate stuff in OZ.

  38. mbahnisch says:

    Personally, I like teh cricket. And I used to watch Rugby League before corporate interests destroyed the Brisbane style of the game! And Union before it migrated to pay tv… OMG! Politics and sport!

  39. joe2 says:

    “OMG! Politics and sport!”

    …and don’t forget the “vagina”, that I have always found far more interesting than both, ever since I popped out of one.

  40. David Rubie says:

    Larvatus Prodeo hates sport and the stupid bogans that watch sport. Someone knock me down with a feather.

    Get stuffed. Lots of the LP regulars love sport, which is why they hate channel nein, the pyjama game and those who confuse sport with spectacle like the late Goanna. Just for the record, I am a bogan.

  41. Paul Burns says:

    I’m not into sport at all but I am fascinated about the place of sport in Australian culture and how it has shaped the Australian character.
    e.g. Les Darcy Saga, the Bodyline controversy, the use of sport by politicians, the 2 Olympics, the role of Cathy Freeman.the changing attitudes in and towards various football codes over time, the canonisation of Bradman, Phar Lap etc.etc.

  42. Paul Burns says:

    Ch. 9 is hoping to rescue ratings by having Cate Blanchett narrate a Year with the Royals in 2008. Presumably they’ll put here alone in a soundproof booth so she doesn’t upset the blokes amd blokettes.

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