Bogot Bingo: theantibogan interactive

Let’s play a game!

It’s well documented that the Bogotariat have little in the way of original thought or imagination, and thus have a tendency to repeat things they have heard other bogots saying.  The bogot does this without ever questioning the veracity of what they are spewing forth onto the internet or how nonsensical it sounds to normal people.

We’ve collected some of the most predictable, common, ignorant and moronic comments and topics raised by the average bogot in full rant, and now we want to see just how predictable the Bogotariat is.

And so we present you with:

Bogot Bingo



  1. Download and/or print the bingo card above
  2. Browse the internet as normal
  3. Should you stumble across a fetid, teeming nest of bogots, pull out your bingo card and start checking off any of the words, phrases, grammatical quirks and nutty fantasies that appear in a comment or thread of comments.
    Please note: The words and phrases don’t have to be verbatim, they just need to be reasonably close in wording and/or sentiment.
  4. If you manage to make a straight line across 5 boxes on your bingo card in any direction, screenshot the comment or thread and send it back to us (via private message to our Facebook page).

We will then sift through the submissions and find the best, worst and funniest Bogot Bingo wins and present them in a blog in a few weeks time.  (Rest assured we will keep the identities of all players completely secret.)

Ready to play?

Go forth and bingo!

Game, set, match, sexism?

Attacking From The Left

For a second, just imagine that one of the highest ranked male tennis players in the world, be it Nadal, Federer, Murray, Djokovic or any of the others, had just won a marathon five setter. Now imagine them taking part in the obligatory post game interview with a commentator who starred in the game for decades, and no doubt knows it inside out. Now imagine the first question they get asked is “so who would you most like to date?” or “So how is married life treating you?”. Having a difficult time imagining the last step in that sequence ever eventuating? That’s because it’s incredibly unlikely at best.

These are the sexist double standards that female tennis players and athletes in general have to put up with. The latest case of this was at the Australian Open in the past few days. Having just won her way through to the…

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Election special No 5 – Kevin Baker falls down



Mr Baker, whose handle on the site is “Baker” tells the joke of a “dishy blonde” in one post.

The joke contains reference to a “stripper on my bucks night that I shagged on the pool table in front of all my mates while your mate whipped me with some wet celery and stuck a cucumber up my a…e?”


How on earth did he get through the vetting?


The Pantograph Punch – Aping Intolerance

by Matt Harnett

On 24 May, the Sydney Swans smashed the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, winning by 47 points in an historic blow out. The game was part of the Indigenous Round, when the Australian Football League recognises the contribution Indigenous Australian players have made to the game and its culture. It was therefore unthinkable that a 13 year old Collingwood fan sitting near the pitch should single out Adam Goodes, a Sydney player of Indigenous descent who was having the game of his life, and yell “Ape!”

Goodes had his back to the girl. “When I turned around, I just saw this young face and I was just, it was just sad…” He stood stock still for a moment, then pointed at her. “It just hit me, that’s why I had to leave the arena, it just broke my heart.” He retired before full time to the team’s changing rooms. He’d never in his career played so well. He was a grown man, but a 13 year old girl had looked at him and in a moment of rabid thoughtlessness screamed something hateful, and he was done. The girl was kicked out of the stadium, and subsequently apologised. You can’t say that sort of thing in public and expect to get away with it, not any more.

Goodes gave an excellent press conference the next day, explaining his reaction and why he had to leave the field. “I felt I was in high school again, being bullied, being called all these names because of my appearance. I didn’t stand up for myself in high school. I’m a lot more confident, I’m a lot more proud about who I am and my culture, and I decided to stand up last night.” An Australian website posted an interesting etymology of the insult.

And in the mainstream media, that was the end of that.

Like Adam Goodes, Luke Damon is a keen footy player. He’s not quite in the same class: he plays for a little local club, the Chelsea Seagulls. They’re based on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. He works for a company called Ja & Ja Concreting, and went to Mt Erin Secondary College. He’s got blue eyes and an attractive partner. A dog, too – a beautiful chocolate Labrador.

I know all this because Luke doesn’t know how to use Facebook.

Should we give Luke the benefit of the doubt? Does his ‘Who am I????’ belie legitimate existential angst, or even self-loathing? I suspect it does not. My suspicion was shared by Luke’s mum, a woman of striking sense and punctuation:

I’m not sure how long Luke kept the post up before some neurons fired and he deleted it or someone reported it, but it’s gone now. Gone from Facebook, anyway. Unfortunately for Luke, the internet doesn’t forget. I didn’t catch wind of his galling racism by feverishly refreshing his entirely-open Facebook profile in hope of documenting some indiscretion; I saw it on the antibogan.

The antibogan is an Australian website that shames people who promulgate racist, sexist or homophobic points of view on social media. It’s also a platform for occasional writing on race and gender in Australian society, and often features commentary after particularly ugly incidents. They usually manage to post something new every day or two – pretty good for a team of six with other jobs.

Much of the website’s content feels deliberately incisive and confrontational, at odds with the typical liberal impulse to pause and engage in a quiet, meaningful dialogue with political incorrectness. Sometimes it feels nasty – a sense of righteous outrage more usually attributed to the right of the political spectrum. You get an impression that the people who run the site are genuinely angry at some of the things that are broadcast online, a feeling of seething frustration that people could be so stupid. It shares these characteristics with another site I follow, the American STFU Conservatives, but it’s much more explicit in the naming of those it says “abuse Aussie freedom of speech.” As you can see in its story on Luke Damon, it even tracked down a news article about him, and suggested outraged readers get in contact with his employers and footy club.

I like their moxie. A lot.

I asked one of the site’s admins, Ed, a few questions via email. I was especially interested in their filtering process – do they ever decide to take things down after they’ve been posted?

“Not usually. We have no obligation to remove a post but generally do if the person has shown remorse or apologised. There was a guy who posted some disgusting racist rants recently that allegedly had a mild form of Aspergers. Even though the claim has not been confirmed, we still felt it necessary to remove that post in respect to the legitimately mentally disabled.”

Similarly, if that girl had written her slur instead of shouting it, she wouldn’t have been featured on the site: “Minors are out and if there are minors in photos of people that we obtain, we blur them out. Other than that – anything goes. If a person is pictured (publicly) with a partner and we obtain that photograph, we don’t usually blur the partner out. We believe that the offending person needs to do some explaining to all parties involved and consequently hurt.”

I wondered though whether the site might have an opposite effect than the one intended – that racists or homophobes or whoever would see other people like themselves appearing on the antibogan, realise that their point of view was shared by others, and feel encouraged. An echo-chamber that accidentally legitimised hate speech, effectively. Ed’s answer surprised me: “Yeah, that’s a problem, but we all believe that the overwhelming majority of society are completely against it.”

The antibogan works on a centrally optimistic principle, even if that’s sometimes hard to see past the screeds of wearying, rote viciousness. It works because it realises the people who mount these attacks already feel a sense of comfortable entitlement, feel like they’re coming from a position where people mainly agree with them, and so see nothing wrong with saying what everyone’s thinking. Their self-conceived privileged centre gets quickly marginalized when it’s scrutinized by a group outside their regular associates: the general public. Ed doesn’t have to change the mind of every shithead on the internet; he simply has to rely on a fundamentally decent society being fair-minded enough to object to them.

As he says, “Our website doesn’t exist to stamp out racism – it exists to highlight its appalling and ignorant nature. It also exists so that when employers, family members and partners Google search these idiots, our site is one of the top hits.”

Maybe it’s tempting to cry foul on the how the antibogan obtains its material. “People are messaging us and writing on the wall all the time… people are constantly sending emails with screenshots and links.” Friends of friends, people like Luke with wide-open profiles: fair game. One of the admins “looks after content passed on via Twitter and the rest monitor Facebook and infiltrate bigoted groups and pages, screenshotting as they go.”

Imagine if you wrote something meant for a small circle of friends, and the next day found yourself at the centre of a campaign of vilification, with calls being made to your employer. That’s bullshit, of course, but it reveals a cognitive dissonance we tend to carry around – somehow yelling ‘ape!’ in a crowd is a contemptible offence, but being called out for telling the whole world a racist joke is creepy and invasive. Though the forum differs, the intentionality behind the act is the same. Complaints that the site exploits people unfamiliar with social media’s privacy settings miss the point. It’s as if a man were unable to control the volume of his voice, and accidentally screamed a sexist insult at a woman walking down the street, rather than muttering it under his breath as he’d intended. We wouldn’t sympathise with his modulation issues, we’d rightly condemn him for being a sexist prick in the first place.

Ed obviously agrees. “People who harbour these thoughts and intend on broadcasting these views to even 10 people deserve to be shamed. Fair enough – some people harbour hatred and resentment, but when such hatred and resentment is irrational and unfounded – and then made public – they need to feel the consequences. We don’t phone tap private conversations or write fabricated stories, we just republish what has been made public.”

Not everyone sees it that way, least of all the people who find their faces and phone numbers on a website visited by thousands weekly. “I personally haven’t received any threats, nor have the majority of the current admin team. But several of the previous operators copped a lot from the fanatical right wingers. Death threats, phone calls, publishing of private details and photos of family members/partners.”

The last thing I asked Ed was if he could ever see himself giving up the project entirely – if the unceasing tide of hate speech might eventually render him fatalistically inert, as the sea slowly wears down stones. “Of course,” he replied. “None of us are overwhelmingly satisfied with what progress we make with the site. It is a necessary service though, and until any of us comes up with anything better, it will push on.”

I’ve talked to a few (white) friends in Melbourne, and they’re not shy about labelling their country racist. They’ll readily admit that some of their fellows harbour deep and nasty resentments against minorities, but they’ll usually also insist that the people espousing these views live elsewhere – up north, or in the country, or rural towns. They’ll name entire states ‘especially bad’ offenders, and possibly list a few structural inequalities that prevent Indigenous Australians, say, from equal participation in society. But that 13 year old girl was shouting from Melbourne, Victoria, and so was Luke Damon. Like charity, racism begins at home. We’re quick to malign Australia as a land of xenophobes, but then we publish things like this in our newspapers and our Race Relations Commissioner says there’s nothing racist about it:

Perhaps the antibogan’s not the perfect solution to combating online hate speech, but it’s a start. Every redacted status or deleted tweet is one fewer reason for a potentially vulnerable person to feel unsafe or discriminated against on the internet. Shame’s a powerful weapon.

I wondered recently if Nisbet were to republish his cartoons via social media, whether the antibogan might devote a post to him. After all, you can’t say that sort of thing on Facebook and expect to get away with it – not any more.

Matt Harnett is a New Zealand blogger


“stupid lefty whore” – more “Jessop” rubbish

Greg the Twerp strikes again – this time taking on a real engineer

The Australian Independent Media Network

TitleThis is a guest post by my sister Cat. Yes, there are now three bloggers in the Rollison family.

As this is my first ever post, I’ll briefly introduce myself.

My name is Cat Williams, but on twitter I am known as Catherine Rollison which is my maiden name.

I am 31 years old and I live in Adelaide with my husband Dave and our beloved dog Tully. I am a project manager in construction (currently working for Syntheo, who is building the National Broadband Network).

My main interests outside of the long and tireless hours I work, and aside from the obvious, being my family and friends, are AFL and politics.

Some of you may follow my sister, Victoria, and/or my mother, Kay, both of whom are prolific bloggers.

Victoria is my twin sister so apart from the same DNA, we share very similar opinions on many things: socialism…

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I Want To Smash Julia Gillard With a Plank of Wood

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So a Prime Minister’s performance will be judged solely on how big her breasts are? Thanks Greg Brown of Caringbah.

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So when somebody points out that you’re a misogynistic knuckle-dragger, you think you’re insulting them when you tell them they are homosexual, exercise-enjoying, environmentally protective and worker rights-defending? Of course these would be insults to you. Why? Because you:

* appear to be asexual;

* clearly avoid exercise of any description other than single-digit typing your frustrations onto Facebook;

* drive a polluting vehicle for a living;

* will always be dominated by an industry that demands more than humanly possible from its employees.

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Real women have a sense of humour about being criticised about their appearance? Do you think the lady you’re sitting next to would have a sense of humour if you insulted her appearance? Do you think you would appreciate anybody inferring that she was unattractive? Take a look at yourself, love. You’re hardly an oil painting yourself. Ugly on the inside and on the outside.

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Thanks for this gem, Matty Batzloff. When you threaten to smash the Australian Prime Minister with a plank of wood, well, such a comment just cries out to be immortalised.

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‘Pimp slap’: Vodafone staffer goes postal

August 1, 2012

Asher Moses Asher Moses Technology Editor


Kotsopulos tweet 1

One of the tweets Kotsopoulos posted yesterday.

A Vodafone store employee who describes himself as the telco’s “social media expert” and “ambassador” has been deriding customers on Twitter and Facebook as “mentally retarded” and threatened them with a “pimp slap backhand”.

Vodafone, which has lost 600,000 customers since mid-2010 after network and other issues, confirmed that Arthur Kotsopoulos was a retail employee working in the Sydney CBD and was part of the telco’s “TNT Ambassadors” program. He also wrote articles and reviews for Vodafone’s blog but the telco says his “self-appointed” title of “social media expert” was “not endorsed by the company”.

Some of the things he is saying publicly are racist and sexist and hardly appropriate for someone who’s identifying themselves as working for a corporation.

      Tiphereth Gloria, social media expert

In just a few tweets yesterday, Mr Kotsopoulos, who goes by the Twitter handle “GrathiusXR”, managed to ridicule Vodafone customers, suppliers and co-workers.

Arthur Kotsopoulos next to a grab from his LinkedIn page.

“HTC rep just walked in get ready for another hour of blabbering about what are the worst phones on the market,” he wrote yesterday at 1:19pm.

A minute or so later he derided a casual employee he was working with at the store that day. “She changes music & puts on this filthy emo music. Literally want to neck myself,” he writes.

But his harshest barbs were reserved for customers. “To top it off i’m serving mentally retarded people who buy phones and have no clue how to use them. Asking me to message people for them. Creating contacts for them and dictating me to enter the contact names then screaming at me when I spell it wrong. Speak English idiot!”

One of the tweets Kotopoulos posted yesterday.

His rage continued on to Facebook, where his profile was open to the public. He wondered in a post yesterday whether “the local mental institution shut down today or something”.

“If I have to serve another person who repeats everything I say like a parrot or I have to explain the same thing to them more then 6 times somebody is going to cop a pimp slap backhand,” he wrote.

“It’s starting to get extremely frustrating right now. Don’t buy a phone IF you have absolutely no idea how to even use the most simple of functions.”

Another of the tweets Kotsopoulos posted yesterday.

It doesn’t appear to be a momentary lapse of judgment as in February this year he tweeted that “some European women would be drop dead gorgeous if they didn’t open their mouth to speak”.

“Ugliest voices I’ve heard in my life. Served an amazing Brazillian with a booty but when she opened her mouth eeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr….,” he continued.

On his LinkedIn page Mr Kotsopoulos says he has been Vodafone’s “social media expert” since November last year. He also lists his job at the Vodafone George Street store in Sydney where he has worked since October 2010.

On Facebook and on Twitter he lists another role at Vodafone, “TNT Ambassador”. He describes this as: “Front-line for technological queries for Vodafone AU. Lending my ideas on how to sell the latest phones on the market as well as checking out what’s to come.”

He writes on LinkedIn “since I am apart of the Y Generation I have the knowledge in technology and handsets that allows me to generate content for the [Vodafone] blog”.

Of his retail sales experience at Vodafone, he writes that he has “learnt to have a certain etiquette when it comes to communicating” with customers.

A Vodafone spokesman said the telco welcomed feedback from its customers and employees in any forum but was “disappointed” with Mr Kotsopoulos’ views, which did not reflect those of the company.

“We will be following up with Mr Kotsopoulos on why he expressed these views,” the spokesman said.

Of Mr Kotsopoulos’ Vodafone “ambassador” claim, the telco said it ran a program for retail staff called “Talking New Technology” that encouraged staff to give feedback on the technology the company sells. Vodafone has referred to people in this group as “TNT ambassadors”.

Mr Kotsopoulos also works for video game review site On his Facebook “about” section he lists the things he hates. These include Australia (“and the scum people that populate it”) and the internet (“full of keyboard heroes, idiots who think they are actually something special coz they can swear”).

Social media expert Tiphereth Gloria, from VML Australia, said Mr Kotsopoulos’ social media experience meant he had no excuse for not knowing what he was doing.

“It’s like he wants people to see his rants and he probably thinks his managers are not going to notice or he’s egotistical enough to think he can get away with it,” she said.

“I don’t know what their [Vodafone’s] internal and external social media policies are, but some of the things he is saying publicly are racist and sexist and hardly appropriate for someone who’s identifying themselves as working for a corporation.”

Ms Gloria recommended companies have clear social media policies that link to their general HR policies. She said spot checks on personal social media channels should be carried out by managers when employees have identifying bios showing the company details.

Anthony Mason, manager of digital research and analysis at social media monitoring firm SR7, said this incident would damage the reputation of Vodafone in the eyes of consumers, business clients and employees.

“Incidents such as these should further crystallise the high potential for social media risk, particularly stemming from employee activity, to damage corporate brands,” he said.

“This risk is not limited to brand damage either; employees are the key source of corporate information leakage on social media platforms.”

Mr Mason said companies could implement intelligence monitoring tools that detect risky posts or accounts and provide early warnings.

In a new comment provided after publication of this article, Vodafone said it had suspended Kotsopoulos pending a full investigation. It apologised for anyone who was offended by the comments, which the telco said it was “appalled” by and “clearly contravene Vodafone social media policy and guidelines for acceptable conduct by employees”.



How to spot a misogynist*


May 1, 2012 – 8:42AM

Clementine FordClementine Ford

Follow @twitter

*By the five classic lies they tell


"If you’re not trained in the spotting of smug, self-satisfied misogynists, you might not know the general thrust of their shtick."

When you’re a feminist, you get used to misogynists trying to challenge the necessity of your politics. “Feminism’s finished! Women are equal now and there’s no use for all the hairy arm-pitted rubbish! Quit your yapping! Embrace your curves!”

But misogynist isn’t a very fashionable kind of word – I mean, no one saunters into a room proudly pronouncing, ‘My name’s Don and I’m a misogynist!’, unless it’s the latest Charter Meeting of Online Trolls Monthly, or Channel Nine. So because people know it’s not really kosher to be a codified turd, they try and hide their misogynist views under the guise of legitimate arguments.

If you’re not trained in the spotting of smug, self-satisfied misogynists, you might not know the general thrust of their shtick. Luckily for you, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in the field since they all started following me on Twitter. So to help novices and outsiders, I’ve taken the following five popular misogynist arguments and parsed them into some kind of legible (if not logical) format for your benefit.

1. If you want to see real oppression, go to the Middle East.

The problems here are threefold. First, it implies women in the west should be grateful for the benevolence of their natural overlords. Who cares if 1 in 3 of you will experience sexual assault in your lifetime, while also enjoying the privilege of lower pay than your male counterparts and the symbolic annihilation of yourselves in literature and film? In case you didn’t know, women in Afghanistan are being stoned to death. So why don’t you just go ahead and submit your complaint to the STFU file known as my PENIS?

Second is the accusatory tone. Now, I’m no statistician, but I’d estimate that 98.76% of people outraged over feminism’s ‘failure’ to ‘protect’ their brown sisters from the oppression of their Muslim Male Masters (because let’s not forget, this is about racism too) are doing exactly zero to agitate for women’s liberation anywhere, let alone in the Middle East. But even though they hate feminism and all who dwell therein, they still think they know how to do it better than you do. This is because misogynists see themselves as Upper Management – which is precisely why we need to get more women into executive roles.

Finally, liberation and change aren’t beholden to hierarchies of need. It’s possible to seek the liberation of oppressed groups everywhere, at the same time! Asking comparatively privileged women (many of whom also live in the Middle East – it is not a vacuum) to be satisfied with ‘good enough’ just reinforces the patriarchal hierarchy of power that needs to be dismantled.

Besides, I don’t hear anyone accusing working families of selfishness for complaining about their rising electricity bills just because some slum dwellers in India don’t even HAVE working Playstations.

2. How can women expect us to respect them when they won’t respect themselves?

When Sheik Al-Hilali compared scantily clad women to uncovered meat, we were rightly outraged. In Australia, we yelled, we don’t treat women like that! Except that we do. We use clothing and behaviour to provide excuses for sexist everyday, be they rapists or simply the kind of people who think a woman’s right to be afforded a basic level of dignity is contingent upon how much of her skin she’s revealing. The fact that we criticise other cultures for it doesn’t make us champions of women – it makes us both sexist AND racist.

We’re not protecting women – we’re protecting our property. Asking women to respect themselves in order to ‘earn’ the right to be treated like a human being is total horse-shit. But suggesting that you have the right to treat her exactly as you please because she didn’t adhere to your archaic views of feminine propriety is misogyny, plain and simple.

3. Stop criticising domestic servitude! Some women are proud to look after their families.

This one’s a misogynist favourite, especially notable for the fact it’s the only time you’ll find them advocating for women’s rights in the workplace. Specifically, a woman’s right to iron her husband’s work shirts instead of her own. Misogynists who use this argument like to wax lyrical about things like choice, pride and sacrificial love. But what they’re really defending is their belief that women belong in the home, performing dull domestic tasks for the primary benefit of everyone other than themselves (and mainly their husband). Despite the fact that these dudes wouldn’t devote even an tenth of their lives to it themselves, they’re invested in outwardly maintaining the nobility of unpaid domestic work – because ascribing false honour to drudgery is how you reinforce invisible social power.

The thing is, women can choose those things if they want to. There’s nothing more tedious than the status quo trying to pit stay-at-homes against workforce broads. But the fact is, these people aren’t advocating for or defending a range of choices. How do I know that? Because if they were, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

4. It’s a science thing

“Look, men and women are built differently. It’s biological. Men are more visual, women are more emotional. That’s why more men are in executive roles. It’s about merit. If women were better, they wouldn’t be so crap. I didn’t make the rules.”

So goes the argument. Basically, it’s the kind of pop science spouted by the readers of such noted academic journals as NW Magazine and the Herald Sun. Whenever you hear someone say, ‘women are just better at washing up’ or ‘men are just better at being the leader of the free world’, ask yourself this: would that sentence be as benign if we replaced gender with race? Would we stand by, nodding sagely as mainstream pundits discussed how white people are just better at empathy than black folk? I sure hope not.

So why is it okay to say that women aren’t as good at stuff ‘because biology’? The biology argument is a Trojan horse that does nothing but sneak sexist propaganda into the castle. The only biological difference between a man and a woman is the difference of a Y chromosome – and even then, there’s a bit of wiggle room.

5. Men are oppressed too, therefore women aren’t! Or something.

“If feminists really cared about equality, they’d be addressing all the inequality that faces men. Like, why do feminists only care about breast cancer and not prostate cancer? Why aren’t feminists advocating for single dads? Why won’t women sleep with me when I’m a really nice guy and I’ve made a particular effort to be nice to them, particularly? Until feminism can answer that, I’m afraid I don’t really see it as being legitimate.”

This is the last bastion of the misogynist’s argument – their self fancying checkmate, if you will. What these people are basically saying is that, despite the overwhelming evidence of entrenched sexual, physical and ideological oppression of women, the only way feminism can really be fair is if it first identifies and solves all of the ways in which the patriarchy also oppresses men.

To be more specific, women who agitate for their own liberation are only allowed to do so once they’ve fixed all the things that make men sad, thus making them stronger and even more powerful.

There are probably a million ways I could tear this argument apart, but I think this says it better than I ever could.


To paraphrase the great Sarah Connor, a bitchin’ kick ass broad who saved humanity from blistering annihilation at the hands of the Terminators: if a stick figure, an animation, can reject the stupidity of misogynist rhetoric…maybe we can too.

Go forth and rebut, my friends.


ABC 7.30: Facebook group reveals ugly side of Defence Force culture

Australian Broadcasting Corporation


7.30 presenters
Broadcast: 29/02/2012

Reporters: Hayden Cooper and Nikki Tugwell

While the Australian Defence Force tries to clean up its image following recent sex scandals, a private social media group of former and current soldiers shows some sections of military culture are still deeply offensive.

CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: Sexist, racist and abusive: that’s the tone of hundreds of offensive messages posted on an internet chat site used by current and former Australian soldiers. The site and its confronting contents, uncovered by 7.30, suggest a campaign by the top brass to clean up the culture of the Australian military has a long way to go.

Last year it was the Skype sex scandal; before that, sexual misconduct by sailors. Now, a private Facebook group of more than 1,000 former and serving Defence force members provides another disturbing insight into the soldier’s world.

This report from Hayden Cooper.

HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: Over six decades of war and peace the Royal Australian Regiment has built a proud history. It’s a professional fighting force, seven battalions of soldiers, the backbone of the nation’s Army. But the culture in the RAR is at times misogynistic, racist and homophobic.

DAVID MORRISON, CHIEF OF ARMY (Last night): At the core of our identity is a strong combat culture. We must preserve this because it’s vital to our success, but we also need to concede that this culture has tended to exclude women and some ethnic groups who are under-represented in our ranks.

HAYDEN COOPER: In the online world, Australian soldiers stick together. This is a closed Facebook group. Gatekeepers ensure only current or former RAR soldiers are let in. The content shows why. This is a world in which Muslims are “rag heads” who should be shot, Australia is no place for immigrants, and, “All women,” as the post says, “are filthy, lying whores”.

LAUREL PAPWORTH, SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST: There’s an element of a gentleman’s club to the closed group, except they’re not acting very gentlemanly.

HAYDEN COOPER: There are more than 1,000 current or former soldiers in this group. The site is extremely busy and acts as an online meeting place. 7.30’s been given access by one concerned member who wants to remain anonymous.

LAUREL PAPWORTH: They seem to be doing a one-upmanship here where one puts in a negative comment and the next person comes in and has to say something even worse.

HAYDEN COOPER: Laurel Papworth has advised defence forces overseas on social media strategy.

LAUREL PAPWORTH: It’s actually pretty gutless of them because they would not be putting up those kind of jokes if their mum could see it and their sister and their wives and boss and their maiden aunt. So they know that they’re not doing the right thing and they’re joining a closed group so they can misbehave.

HAYDEN COOPER: Putting aside the pornography and racist material, the comments by the group’s members are perhaps more telling.

STEPHEN SMITH, DEFENCE MINISTER: Your role in the Defence force will be determined on your ability, not on the basis of your sex.

HAYDEN COOPER: When the minister announced last year that more women would go into combat, the Facebook group went into overdrive as soldiers responded.

(Excerpts from postings on the Facebook group)

(male voiceover): “Well if you had a nice, soft, warm put f*** buddy in the shape of a woman you could have got rid of all that stress. LOL”

(male voiceover): “f*** fodder for the enemy, new break contact drill, leave female soldier behind wearing bikini lol”

(male voiceover): “Don’t worry about what the enemy will do to them. After a few weeks in the bush, most blokes’d f*** a black snake with a festered arse!!”

(male voiceover): “your right about that if she’s half good looking with big tits give’s ya something to keep you awake on piquet duty, just hope she’s not a noisy f*** or the enemy will know where you are.”

(male voiceover): “Let’s face it, the RAAF get the best looking ones, the Navy get second dibs and the Army as usual get what’s left.”

(male voiceover): “Vote 1, ugly chicks in every diggers gunpit!!”

(male voiceover): “If your on Ops and get rubbish, who carries the tampon and sanitary napkins bag?”

(End of excerpts).

HAYDEN COOPER: So is this a surprise to members who have experienced Defence force life?

NAOMI BROOKES, FORMER ADFA CADET: I’ve heard it before. And if I was shocked – no, it’s pretty commonplace.

HAYDEN COOPER: Naomi Brookes spent a year at the Defence Force Academy before deciding it wasn’t the place for her. The trigger for leaving was the way a friend was treated by her peers after being raped.

NAOMI BROOKES: And they would say things – oh, I think one of the ones that really made me angry was about a week after it had happened and someone in my div said, “Oh, she should get over it already,” and calling her words that I don’t like to repeat.

HAYDEN COOPER: And then when the Skype sex scandal was revealed, similar attacks took place on various social media sites.

NAOMI BROOKES: They would say things like, “Oh, she’s such a slut; she deserved it. She was asking for it,” that sort of mentality where the blame is really placed on the woman. Comments like the ones on the Facebook groups aren’t all that unusual and because they’re not all that unusual as time goes on they seem less and less obscene, and so it feeds back into itself. And throughout the year that I was there, those sort of comments became more commonplace because it wasn’t seen as unacceptable.

LAUREL PAPWORTH: There is probably systemic ignoring of this kind of behaviour. It’s, you know, “Guys will be guys. Just ignore it, as long as they get the job done,” and I’m not sure that that’s a – an appropriate response to this kind of bad behaviour online.

HAYDEN COOPER: Lieutenant General David Morrison has been the Army Chief for eight months. He’s pushing ahead with efforts to bring more women and more minorities into the services.

DAVID MORRISON (Last night): Will it cancel out and negate any unfortunate incidents in the future? Unlikely. Human nature is human nature irrespective of whether it’s lived in uniform or without.

HAYDEN COOPER: In this case, the Defence hierarchy was alerted to the Facebook group and its contents eight months ago. A member of the group wrote to the Chief of Defence and the Department Secretary. He also took his concerns to the minister’s office more than once. It raises questions: why has nothing changed and what should be done? Catherine Lumby advised the NRL when it first set out to overcome abusive attitudes.

CATHERINE LUMBY, UNIVERSITY OF NSW: The Australian Defence Force is really I think just started the process of cultural change and they’ve got Elizabeth Broderick, who’s a terrific person, to head that up. And I think that this shows that these attitudes are there, there are problems and they’re going to have to commit to really long-term change. And I think we shouldn’t be caning them for that. I think we should be supporting them in that process.

LAUREL PAPWORTH: We make a lot of demands on our military. On one level we want them to be big, strong, rugged men that can go in and be adversarial with an enemy. And on the other hand, they have to be big, soft gentlemen that don’t ever say the wrong thing. And I think that that’s a very teenage girl approach to bad boys. It’s unrealistic.

HAYDEN COOPER: The online group does serve a decent purpose like fundraising for serving soldiers and the administrators have warned members repeatedly to avoid overtly racist or sexist material. Finding the right balance, though, seems difficult, both for the soldiers involved and for the entire military.

NAOMI BROOKES: Everyone still has a right to their private lives and if that’s how they choose to conduct themselves in their private lives it’s difficult for Defence to intervene in social media. But I think in terms of the attitudes that they have and their own sense of dignity, one should hope that Defence would have the capacity to engage in training and to make it clear that there are standards of behaviour for members in Defence and hopefully that should have run-on effects for mediums like Twitter and Facebook.

HAYDEN COOPER: Naomi Brookes is embarking on a new life after her previous career fell short of expectations, but she hopes that for others the experience can be better, despite these very clear signs that true cultural change is elusive.

NAOMI BROOKES: It’s come to the point where it needs external pressure from greater Australian society in order to make that change, because if Defence is left to deal with it, again, I don’t believe that the necessary cultural shift will happen.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Hayden Cooper with that report, produced by Nikki Tugwell. 7.30 approached the Chief of Army, the Defence Minister and the Opposition Defence spokesman for an interview. They all declined.

Late this afternoon we received a lengthy response to our questions from the Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison. He thanked the ABC for, “highlighting these serious issues in a bid for them to be dealt with”. He said his staff in Army headquarters are already taking steps to determine if any serving members are linked to the offensive comments. Where they have been, he said, “I intend to take action to deal with them to the extent that our policies and the laws allow”.

Read the responses to this story from the Department of Defence and the Minister for Defence.


All media © ABC News


Military analyst reflects on ADF issues

Racist Facebook page with more than 1000 members probed by Defence


Angry outburst after ADF posts made public

Here’s Some More Free Publicity, Ricky Nixon

Just days after we broke the story of former player agent and 17 year old girl abuser Ricky Nixon, (The Age ran with the story later that day), he’s at it again. This time naked and drunk in public coupled with altercations with members of the public and the police.

Story by Michael Lallo

Journalists trail Ricky Nixon as he leaves St Kilda Police Station today. Photo: Wayne Hawkins

Ricky Nixon cut a lonesome figure, flagging down a taxi after being released from St Kilda Police Station earlier tonight.

There was no one to collect the disgraced former AFL player manager — and no sign of his fiancee, 27-year-old Tegan Gould — when he left the station, red-faced and angry.

Nixon was arrested in Port Melbourne this afternoon after a reported altercation with Ms Gould.

Police tonight confirmed he had been fined and issued a penalty notice after being arrested for public drunkeness.

Witnesses are believed to have seen him naked and throwing clothes from his Bay Street apartment. It is believed Nixon then walked onto the street and had an altercation with a member of the public, resulting in his arrest.

Witness Adrian Koziak told Channel Seven that Nixon was being ‘‘intimidating’’ towards police, who had told him to return to his apartment.

‘‘The policeman said, ‘Move on or you’ll be arrested,’ at which point he [lunged] into one of the policeman’s faces. They grabbed him and put his arms behind his back; he started remonstrating and using foul language and they frog-marched him to the police car.’’

Police said that a 48-year-old man had been arrested in Port Melbourne after being found drunk, but would not confirm that it was Nixon.

‘‘I haven’t been charged with anything,’’ Nixon said as he left the station just before 7pm.

‘‘Victoria Police are under investigation … an OPI investigation.’’

A police spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether Nixon had made a complaint against police.
Nixon later refused to speak to The Sunday Age at his apartment.

The troubled former footballer was suspended by the AFL Players’ Association last year after an “inappropriate personal relationship” with 17-year-old Kim Duthie, the so-called ‘‘St Kilda Schoolgirl’’.

On Monday, Nixon posted a rant against Age columnist Suzanne Carbone on his open Facebook account. The tone became sexual, and former Hawthorn player Dermott Brereton was among those who left comments on the account.

On Wednesday, Nixon told the Herald Sun about his engagement to Gould.

‘‘We’re really happy at the moment and we’re really confident it will all work out,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been a tough 12 months. The amount of attention we get, I’d rather it’s a proper wedding, that’s the priority.’’

In the same article, Ms Gould described herself as a perfectionist and said she had not yet decided who would make her wedding dress.

Nixon’s arrest sparked a flurry on social media.

3AW radio host Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) tweeted: ‘‘Ricky Nixon’s ‘new leaf’. He’s been arrested in Port Melbourne after ‘domestic dispute’. What’s the wedding date again?’’.

On Facebook, Age columnist Ben Pobjie wrote: ‘‘He could manage everyone… except himself: The Ricky Nixon Story”.

Read more:

‘Naked’ fury: police arrest ‘drunk’ Ricky Nixon in street


Thin skins and Facebook banter