Australian presenter sorry for remarks on ‘disgusting’ Mardi Gras marchers

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An Australian TV presenter has apologised for remarks he made about Sydney’s Mardi Gras festival.

Ron Wilson, a presenter for Channel Ten, was interviewing festival co-chair Peter Urmson on Monday.

Wilson said on the show: “On the night there some of the spectacles you’re seeing I’m assuming would even make you cringe. It becomes an exploitation almost of a sexual image rather than trying to explore the diversity of lifestyle.”

Urmson interjected, saying the parade was colourful.

But Wilson replied: “With respect, there’s a difference between colourful and disgusting in some cases…. [some people] really do seem to cross the line.”

Later in the exchange, Wilson said: “There’s acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Why not let time take care of the gay marriage issue rather than pushing it?”

Urmson responded by saying: “Because if we don’t push for it, no one’s going to.”

After complaints, Wilson issued an apology on the next day’s broadcast, saying: “As a journalist, my job is to present an issue from different perspectives. But there is no question I could have chosen my words better. If anyone took offence at anything I said during the interview I apologise.

“I fully support the gay community and its campaign to promote the issue of gay marriage and I do congratulate the gay and lesbian community on the success of this year’s event. Please take that with sincerity.”

Urmson told reporters he accepted the apology but Australian gay rights campaigner Gary Burns has said he will lodge a complaint against Wilson at the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board.

“The Mardi Gras may not be everyone’s cup of tea but surely diversity on a night like this is acceptable,” Burns said.

In a statement, Channel Ten said: “Ten Morning News featured eight minutes of overwhelmingly positive coverage of Mardi Gras. Ron Wilson congratulated organisers on the success of the 2011 event.

“One small section of the interview raised a question about behaviour by some participants. The phrasing might not have been ideal, and Ten apologises if any viewers took offence.

“However, it is not unreasonable for alternative views to be put to organisers and the interview talent agreed that while he didn’t hold the view, some sections of society may.”