Joanita Wibowo


“Intolerable”: Leigh Sales speaks up about unwanted onstage kiss

“Intolerable”: Leigh Sales speaks up about unwanted onstage kiss

ABC journalist Leigh Sales has spoken up after receiving an unwanted kiss on the lips from a retired businessman in front of a charity dinner crowd.

According to The Guardian Australia, Sales was about to host the black tie dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney on Saturday when she was introduced by Phil Newman, a retired businessman and a board director for the multiple sclerosis charity The Trish Foundation.

Newman offered his cheek for Sales to peck but turned his head to connect his lips with Sales’ mouth. The 7.30 host reportedly screamed in shock and said “hashtag me too” on the microphone before continuing to host the dinner.

An audible gasp could be heard in the room, where the 200 guests included the former Liberal minister Brendan Nelson and the former premier of New South Wales Barry O’Farrell as the foundation’s joint patrons.

“I was offended and angered by the incident on Saturday night,” Sales told The Guardian Australia.

“I had strong words to the man involved, he apologised and I accepted that apology. That should be the end of it as far as I’m concerned.

“The only reason I am commenting publicly is that given how many people witnessed the incident, I feel it would be gutless not to stand up and say that kind of behaviour is intolerable and the time for women being subject to it or having to tolerate it is long gone.”

Newman said the kiss was “an attempt at humour and light entertainment” to start the event.

“I apologised on the night profusely and she accepted,” he said. “I am upset my judgment wasn’t better. I am embarrassed I brought any disrespect on the foundation and on Leigh.”

The chair of the Trish Foundation, Carol Langsford also apologised to Sales. “We are incredibly honoured that Leigh gives her valuable time and great professional skills to the Trish MS Research Foundation year after year,” Langsford said.

“We are terribly upset that Leigh was embarrassed by one of our volunteers and of course, our volunteer and the Trish Foundation apologise sincerely and unreservedly.”