The revelation that now-former NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, David Campbell, was secretly filmed leaving an all-male sex club by a news programme which then outed him on national television has sparked questions over the morality of 7 News.
Campbell (pictured), who is married with two adult sons, resigned last night in the wake of the story.
Alex Greenwich of the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group was one of several people who contacted Same Same to express their concern over the item. He says he rarely comments on issues away from same-sex marriage, but brands the 7 story a “gay witch hunt.”
“Whether he is gay, bi, curious or confused we need to appreciate that anyone of his generation grew up in a very homophobic Australia, both in terms of social attitudes and laws. Any gay person knows how hard it still is to come out.
“This man has dedicated much of his life to public service, and without any understanding of the psychological issues associated with someone of his generation being able to be comfortable with his sexuality, he is being condemned by the media for walking down the stairs of a gay establishment.”
The story was presented by 7 News as ‘misuse of a government paid car’, but the issue of whether Campbell is secretly gay or not is the real reason he is being targeted, Greenwich concludes.
2DayFM gay radio presenter Geoff Field agrees, describing the outing as “an absolute tragedy in so many ways.”
“This man was obviously living a double life, which has now been exposed to a hungry media baying for blood,” he wrote, adding that “it’s ironic that this should happen, on the very day when gay people are told by an AFL player (Jason Akermanis) to stay in the closet.”
Put yourself in his shoes
After a few amused reactions to last night’s revelations, Same Same’s Forum members were also quick to voice their concern over 7 News’s stakeout. “It’s outrageous that the TV film crew was following him in any case,” a new member wrote. “He was not doing anything illegal by going to Ken’s.”
“I feel sorry for the guy,” a regular poster added. “It’s not really anyone’s business, and who doesn’t use their work car to get around?”
“I’m pretty sure David Campbell has never said anything homophobic or been an advocate for homophobia in Parliament,” typed a third Same Samer. “So no one on this site should take pleasure in his pain. Put yourself in his shoes.”
The management of Sydney’s Ken’s at Kensington sauna, the sex-on-site premises Campbell was shown exiting in 7 News’ video footage, has so far declined to talk to mainstream media about the story. Manager Bruce Dallas told Same Same this afternoon he was still reluctant to make any comment, but revealed that a TV crew has been filming outside his venue today. “Of course this has had a detrimental effect on business,” he added.
Same Same emailed 7 News this morning to ask what justification it had for ‘outing’ Campbell, and whether further stakeouts outside gay sex venues were planned. So far there has been no response.