TV Star Don Burke Accused Of Sexual Harassment
A major investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC has uncovered a raft of shocking allegations against former TV host Don Burke.
Former co-workers claim that Burke's demeanor behind the scenes was in stark contrast to his cheery appearance on the nations screens as host of the hugely successful lifestyle program Burke's Backyard which ran from 1987 to 2004.
It's alleged Burke indecently assaulted, sexually harassed and bullied a string of female employees.
Bridget Ninness, a former producer on Burke's Backyard said,
"He was a vile, vile human being,"
"He was lewd and he was crude" and his constant talk of sex was "designed to confront you and to demean you", she said.
Ninness later launched legal action against Burke for psychological abuse.
Louise Langdon, said Burke "put his foot into my rear end, with the view to checking the tone of my ... my backside".
He then stated that the firmness of her "backside" wasn't "up to scratch".
"I loathed him, he was just a pig. He was lecherous and sinister," said another former researcher who alleges she was indecently assaulted by Burke.
Former chief executive of the Nine Network David Leckie has also spoken out.
"I've been trying to think of Harvey Weinstein-type people [in Australia] and the only one I can ever come up with is Burke. He was a horrible, horrible man,"
While Burke is not accused of rape, more than 50 people have made serious allegations about Burke's behaviour.
Sam Chisholm, Leckie's predecessor at Nine said,
"Don Burke was a disgrace because of his behaviour internally and externally,"
He also described Burke as a "terrible grub".
However Don Burke has denied comparisons to Weinstein.
"I loathe the reported behaviour of Mr Weinstein and hope that the legal system deals with him in such a way as to prevent this happening again."
"The bitter irony is that I have had a life-long opposition to sexism and misogyny. Burke's Backyard was a lone bastion of anti-misogyny since its inception in 1987," said Burke.
Ms Ninness, who settled out of court with Burke's company over "sustained and systemic psychological abuse" said, "He is a high-grade, twisted abuser,"