One of Adelaide’s longest-serving and most controversial radio hosts has been sacked for comments about alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins.
FiveAA breakfast host David Penberthy announced that Jeremy Cordeaux’s employment had been “terminated” after Cordeaux called Ms Higgins “a silly little girl who got drunk” on his Saturday morning program.
Ms Higgins alleges she was raped inside federal senior minister Linda Reynolds’s office in parliament in 2019.
Cordeaux, 75, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison should have repudiated Ms Higgins’s story publicly.
“I just ask myself why the Prime Minister doesn’t call it out for what it is – a silly little girl who got drunk,” Cordeaux said.
“If this girl has been raped, why hasn’t the guy who raped her been arrested?
“Apparently everyone knows his name.”
Penberthy announced Cordeaux’s sacking on Monday morning.
In a statement read on air, the station apologised “unreservedly” to Ms Higgins and withdrew the comments “without reservation”.
“We acknowledge that the comments were completely inappropriate and offensive,” Penberthy said.
“The views expressed by Jeremy Cordeaux do not reflect those held by FiveAA and Nova Entertainment and we unequivocally withdraw them.
“Mr Cordeaux’s employment has been terminated and FiveAA and Nova Entertainment have immediately taken broader action to ensure this can never happen again.”
Later on Monday, Ms Higgins welcomed the sacking, saying it sent a strong message to the one in five Australian women who experience sexual assault.
“This rhetoric isn’t helpful especially given the cultural reckoning about consent that is taking place across the country,” she said.
“Instead of seeking to modify the behaviour of victims, let’s try to address how we can deter perpetrators of sexual crimes.”
But Cordeaux has doubled down on his comments.
“The advice I give to my own daughter: Do not go out and get drunk. Regardless of how well you may know the people around, do not put yourself in harm’s way,” he told the Seven Network.
“Be on guard all the time, don’t be a silly girl.”
Former Adelaide Labor MP Kate Ellis, who has just put out a book called Sex, Lies and Question Time and who features in an Australian Story episode on Monday night on federal Parliament’s “toxic workplace culture”, said Cordeaux’s comments were “absolutely outrageous”.
“We don’t want to hear that commentary anywhere in the community let alone in our radio stations’ broadcasts,” she said.
“It’s totally outrageous and there’s no place for it.”
Ms Ellis is married to Penberthy.
Cordeaux was a radio host in Sydney before starting at Adelaide’s 5DN in 2014.
He started working at FiveAA in 2014.