Sky News presenter and former Labor leader Mark Latham has had his contract with the broadcaster terminated for calling a group of high school students “d**kheads” and questioning the sexuality of one live on TV.
On a recent episode of panel show Outsiders, which aired on Sky News on Sunday mornings, Latham weighed in on an International Women’s Day video recently made by students from Sydney Boys High School about feminism.
In the video, he teenagers read out quotes they’d collected from female loved ones.
But Latham responded: “The boys at the boys school look like d**kheads doing their video, total d**kheads,” adding, “I thought the first guy was gay.”
On Wednesday afternoon Sky News political editor David Speers announced on air that Sky News had “ended the contract of contributor Mark Latham.”
Sky News CEO and managing editor Angelos Frangopoulos tweeted: “While we support strong opinions and robust arguments we pride ourselves in doing so in a civil and respectful manner.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 29, 2017
Earlier Labor leader Bill Shorten slammed Latham as a “bully” and Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, in whose electorate the school is located, said the students in the video were “better men than Mark Latham has ever been.”
She said she personally knew the student as a “particularly impressive person.”
“Mark Latham should be ashamed of attacking teenagers trying to make the world a better place,” she said.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham also condemned the remarks.
“He should pick on people his own size rather than having a juvenile go at the sexuality of school children on national television,” he said.
On Tuesday Latham said he stood by his comments, telling the Daily Telegraph it was unclear at first that the students are reading quotes from women.
“The student pretended to be a woman by talking about sex with a man — so yes, one would assume he was gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” he said, referencing TV series Seinfeld.