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Debate: Neil Mitchell and his critic, Gay Alcorn, face-off over Robert Doyle and #metoo

“What has been frustrating is the way (Robert Doyle’s) Melbourne defenders, especially 3AW presenter, Neil Mitchell, and former premier, Jeff Kennett, have framed their arguments.

“They claim in very strong terms that the process against Doyle has been unfair – a “lynch mob mentality”, says Mitchell. Their evidence for this is slim and selective, but seems to be as much about their friendship with and respect for Doyle, and perhaps about being late middle-aged men who have always lived in a world where the complaints of women about male behaviour have never been taken seriously – until now.”

That was Gay Alcorn’s assertion in a Guardian editorial titled The Robert Doyle saga is a perfect case study for this messy #metoo moment.

Needless to say, Neil Mitchell didn’t agree, so he invited Alcorn in for a debate.

“The piece such as the one you’ve written, to me is unproductive,” he said,

“It annoys me when it’s written that perhaps my attitudes are based on the fact that I’m a middle-aged man who’s lived in a world where women’s complaints are not taking seriously. I’ve got a long history in this business and I don’t believe v’e ever ignored a complaints of inappropriate behaviour.”

Strident debate ensued — but there was also some common ground, including the pitfalls of trial by innuendo.

Neil: “OK, well how do we fix it?

Gay: “Well, that’s a big question…”

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