Wed, 4 Jul, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Studio 10 panel faces off against Senator David Leyonhjelm over “bitch” slur

Studio 10 panel faces off against Senator David Leyonhjelm over “bitch” slur

This morning, Senator David Leyonhjelm faced off against the Studio 10 panel in a heated appearance where he refused to apologise for calling co-host Angela Bishop a “bitch”.

On the weekend, Leyonhjelm called Bishop a “bigoted bitch” on Twitter, following a segment where the host described his sexist remarks against Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young as “pathetic”.

Leyonhjelm appeared on the show today to discuss his remarks and share his views on “free speech”.

"You think it's proper to call women bitches?" fill-in panellist Hugh Riminton asked the senator.

"When they are bitches," Leyonhjelm replied.

After refusing to apologise for calling Hanson-Young a “serious misandrist”, Bishop asked the Senator to explain the remarks he made about her on his social media account.

"I'm not a misandrist. Why did you call me a bitch?" she asked.

"Because you were being bigoted," he replied, highlighting the moment when Bishop’s co-host, Joe Hildebrand, had been “trying to explain the context” of the senator’s controversial remark.

"Why not call her a bigot, why do you call her a bitch? Real men don't call women bitches," Riminton said.

"Oh, you've had a very sheltered life, Hugh," Leyonhjelm replied. "You're entitled to your opinion... I mix with normal Australians and they use that language all the time."

Halfway through the segment, Leyonhjelm toned down his defence and said to Bishop: “I'm sorry you took offence."

"So do you admit that calling her a bitch was wrong?" host Harris asked.

"Oh no," Leyonhjelm replied, causing gasps in the audience.

Riminton later tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of Leyonhjelm and Bishop, saying that the senator admitted “he probably shouldn’t have said it in public”.

During the interview, Bishop questioned Leyonhjelm’s intentions with his recent controversial remarks, suggesting he was using the publicity for his re-election campaign.

"That might be an outcome of it, but I didn't set out to achieve that... I didn't try to stop the ball but I also didn't start it," Leyonhjelm said.

"You guys keep ringing me up to come and do interviews," he told the panel. "Free speech is important but so is sexism and calling out misandry."

Leyonhjelm said he would only apologise for his comment about Hanson-Young if the Greens senator made three public announcements rejecting “men’s collective responsibility” in violence against women – a condition she has since rejected.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.