The Melbourne Writers’ Festival has expressed its disappointment at the appearance of former Labor leader, Mark Latham, during a panel in which he lashed out at ABC Radio National host Jonathan Green.
Just last week, Latham resigned as columnist at the Australian Financial Review amid mounting controversy over some of his views and reports linking Latham to a controversial Twitter account that has made derogatory comments about public figures including anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.
But when asked about the @RealMarkLatham controversy, Latham attacked Green, calling him “a non-stop bagger and sneerer”, an “ABC wanker” and “bigot”.
But the heated exchange did not end there.
“This is how I talk … and if you don’t like it, you can f*** off,” Latham said to audience members, some of who walked out halfway through the event.
“What’s wrong with a bit of unfiltered conversation? And the word f*** and c***, they’ve been on the front page of the Australian so they’ve been legitimised, so let’s get right into it — f***, c***, poo, bum.”
Latham was attending the event to discuss the question of whether former politicians could write objectively about politics — but instead went on to attack host Green and audience members without saying whether the Twitter account belonged to him or not.
Green also seemed to think that things had gotten too far:
Well that escalated quickly.
— Jonathan Green (@GreenJ) August 22, 2015
Following the incident, the Melbourne Writers’ Festival official account on Twitter expressed disappointment.
We’re disappointed in Mark Latham’s #MWF15 appearance today. Not the respectful conversation we value.
— MWF (@MelbWritersFest) August 22, 2015
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