Outrage as Australian DJ chides Nigella

JESSICA WRIGHT
Last updated 15:22 17/06/2013
Fairfax Australia

DJ attracts criticism for calling on Nigella Lawson to 'make a stand' against domestic violence after pictures emerged showing her husband physically restraining her.

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Australian radio presenter Dee Dee Dunleavy has triggered outrage on social media by penning a blog post implying women should boycott British celebrity Nigella Lawson's books until she "makes a stand on domestic violence".

On Sunday, pictures emerged of the UK chef apparently being grabbed by the throat by her husband Charles Saatchi.

Dunleavy, who writes and broadcasts for Melbourne station 3AW under the self-applied nickname 'The Queen of Melbourne radio', said on Sunday: "Nigella, like it or not, you're a beacon for women from all walks of life.

 "If you want us to buy your books and watch your shows on how to run our kitchens, then we need you to make a stand on domestic violence," she wrote.

Dunleavy asked why, directly after the alleged attack by Saatchi, Lawson posted "a picture of a buttered, toasted bagel on her official Twitter page, as though nothing else was on her mind but food".

"That's not the response we were after, Nigella. We think you are strong, beautiful and successful. We imagine your home is warm and smells of cinnamon, and if we dropped in we'd get a hug and a feed," Dunleavy wrote in the blog for 3AW, which is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

"We don't like to think of you cowering from a thug. A man so boldly abusive he had no qualms about attacking you in public."

Dunleavy claimed Saatchi had "form", saying the couple had been photographed in a similar incident last year, with pictures of Saatchi covering Lawson's mouth - photos that were described at the time as playful.

The comments about Lawson have sparked outrage on social media, with some Twitter posts demanding Dunleavy apologise.

Australian comedian and writer Corinne Grant tweeted: "I really didn't misunderstand. you're asking a DV victim to become the face of DV or you'll boycott her. [sic]"

Newspaper columnist Miranda Devine tweeted: "Victimising the victim - how does that help?

"Shaming and bullying does nothing for any cause."

"What an absolute disgraceful piece of writing and commentary this is Dee Dee. You have further victimised the victim here," Julie of Melbourne wrote.

Twitter user Karen was slightly more moderate.

"I appreciate some of the sentiments of the article but it was totally out of order. Why should Nigella bear the burden of battered women everywhere just because she's a celebrity???," she wrote.

Dunleavy responded on her personal Twitter feed to the public outcry, saying:

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Speaking with fellow 3AW radio presenter Neil Mitchell this morning, Dunleavy sought to hose down her comments.

"I probably could have worded that better because a lot of people have misunderstood that I'm calling for a boycott of Nigella's books," she told Neil Mitchell.

"I'm a massive Nigella fan, (but) if she wants to be that person that we look up to and we watch, then she also needs to be a leader."

Dunleavy responded to Mitchell's questions about whether she was implying the victim of a domestic violence incident should take on some responsibility by saying: "Yes I am. This is not victim blaming and it is too soon for her to be doing that."

Dunleavy said on radio she was motivated to call on Lawson to take a high-profile stand on domestic violence after watching a close friend in her 20s become stuck in a violent relationship.

Dunleavy said she felt helpless as she was unsure of the best way to offer support.

"I didn't want to upset her and our friendship, so I didn't say 'this is never going to get any better'. I didn't step in," she said on 3AW.

"You don't know what to do when you're young, you need an example.

"I'm not suggesting that she do it today, but I'm suggesting that women will look to her to see how to behave."

- The Age

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