Renowned Australian humourist Tim Ferguson has apologised for a series of offensive letters he sent to a journalist in 1990 in response to a negative review.
In a first-person piece written for News Corp, journalist Candace Sutton said Ferguson targeted her with “vile and obscene” correspondence containing foul language and lewd drawings.
Her article describes the letters and faxes as “psychological bullying” and “hate mail” that left her feeling “angry, sad, dirty, humiliated, ugly … guilty and ashamed”.
At the time, Ferguson was a member of comedy trio Doug Anthony Allstars, with co-stars Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler. When the group reformed in 2014, Fidler did not take part in the reunion.
The letters were sent in response to a piece Ms Sutton wrote in Sydney’s Sun-Herald, where she opined that Ferguson had been “short on jokes” during the group’s appearances on ABC TV show The Big Gig.
Ferguson responded to Ms Sutton’s story by offering an unreserved apology.
Fellow Allstar McDermott and former Allstar Fidler also apologised for not doing more at the time to make him “retract these infantile messages and apologise for their content”.
Speaking to The New Daily, Ferguson, who now suffers from multiple sclerosis, said he was ashamed of his behaviour, describing it as “infantile” and “stupid”.
He acknowledged the hurt and offence his actions had caused and said he felt genuine remorse.
Ferguson writes a satirical column for The New Daily, entitled ‘Fake News You Can Trust’. He has decided to place the column on hiatus.