Radio host sued over “homophobic” comments

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A radio host in Australia is being sued over comments he made about Queer Eye for the Straight Guy presenter Carson Kressley.

John Laws is being sued by Gary Burns for the on air comments on Sydney’s 2UE. Mr Burns argues that the words used were of homosexual vilification and a breach of the states Anti Discrimination Act.

He is seeking damages of AU$25,000 (£10,600) and an on-air apology from Mr Laws as well as an apology in major newspapers published in Sydney.

Mr Laws said he meant no offence to homosexuals after he called Mr Kressley a “pillow-biter” and a “pompous little pansy prig” in a 2004 broadcast.

He told the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal that he was just making fun of the gay entertainer and was criticising the way he had hosted a fashion segment of the Melbourne Cup television coverage.

In the broadcast, Mr Laws ridiculed Mr Kressley for calling a handkerchief a pocket square.

“That’s poofspeak for handkerchief … Who is he? He might be famous in certain circles, circles being the operative word … What the hell does a pillow-biter know about judging girls? They should have a few truckies down there, or me.”

The radio presenter told the tribunal the comments were “tongue in cheek” and “light-hearted, almost satire”. He said he had nothing against homosexuals and that he had many homosexual friends.”

Counsel for Mr Burns, David Rofe QC quizzed Laws explicitly about the precise meaning of his remarks. He was asked what he meant by “famous in some circles, circles being the operative word”, Mr Laws replied: “It was a clumsy double entendre.”

When Mr Rofe asked him what a pillow-biter was, he said: “A homosexual, a colloquialism for a homosexual used by homosexuals themselves.

“I can tell you I was making an attempt to be funny, maybe I failed.”

The tribunal was adjourned until a later date to be set.