I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here Final. Barry Hall who came 2nd in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here! Pic: Nigel Wright / Channel 10
I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here Final. Barry Hall who came 2nd in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here! Pic: Nigel Wright / Channel 10

‘Vile’ husband joins Hall of shame

THERE are growing calls for Triple M to take drastic disciplinary action against St Kilda great Leigh Montagna in the wake of the Barry Hall comment scandal.

The outrage directed at the iconic Aussie network expanded on Sunday morning with public calls for Montagna to also be stood down less than two days after Hall was dramatically sacked on the spot for making an inappropriate comment surrounding Montagna's wife Erinn.

Channel 9 personalities and footy commentators on Sunday turned the blowtorch on the Triple M football culture and Hall's fellow Friday night commentators Montagna, host Mark Howard, reporter Damien Barrett and AFL great Nathan Brown.

Hall's comment was regarding a technique used by medical professionals, known as a "membrane sweep" - which Montagna's wife Erin underwent to induce labour. Hall insinuated the doctor acted in a sexually inappropriate way and was sacked on the spot.

Attention has now turned to the actions of Hall's co-commentators, with at least two of them heard roaring with laughter in response to Hall's joke.

Social commentators have also highlighted that Montagna himself was heard voluntarily speaking about his wife's procedure. There have also been public declarations on TV and social media that Montagna's partner would have been horrified by the sensitive conversation being broadcast around the country.

Leigh Montagna was not the first Triple M commentator to bring up the topic of his wife’s procedure.
Leigh Montagna was not the first Triple M commentator to bring up the topic of his wife’s procedure.

"It's when the obstetrician just has a little feel and makes sure that you're starting to dilate and puts a couple fingers up there and checks what's going on," he said.

"It's a procedure they do before birth."

It is in response to this that Hall made his joke about the procedure.

Montagna has been accused by commentators for instigating the entire inappropriate conversation.

However, the audio of the segment clearly shows host Howard bringing up the topic of Erinn Montagna's pregnancy and "sweep" procedure as one of the first questions asked at the start of the show.

Despite this, commentators, including Netball legend and Channel 9 star Liz Ellis, have called for action to be taken against Montagna.

"Surely, how do they get to that point in the first place. What was Leigh Montagna doing talking about his wife like that," Ellis told Nine's Sports Sunday.

"And Mrs Montagna, what must she be thinking? Her husband is up there talking about her. It is a very intimate thing having an examination there with a doctor. The husband is talking about it and then Barry is joking about it. I don't get it"

Mark Howard with fellow Triple M commentator Luke Darcy.
Mark Howard with fellow Triple M commentator Luke Darcy.

She also said Triple M's culture must be assessed in the wake of another inappropriate comment coming from a Triple M identity.

"All of those blokes are great blokes. Mark Howard was one of the hosts of the segment, he was laughing in the background," Ellis said.

"I worked with him for many years. Like them. The problem is, these blokes are great individually but you get them in the group and something happens.

"They have done the right thing and sacked Barry. But what are they going to do about everyone else who took part in the conversation and laughed in the background?

"Is it a cultural issue where when you are by yourself, 'I respect women, the partner, someone who has a name, who is the mother of my child'. But what about the general female population?

"What are you doing about that? To me, it is not about getting more women involved in the coverage, but getting more women involved in football."

Marngrook Footy Show host Shelly Ware told Nine's Today Show there needs to be a "conversation" about disciplinary action also being taken against Hall's colleagues.

"I was really distressed by the fact that they just kept talking and some of the biggest names in AFL were there with him and they didn't stop him at any point and say that it was wrong," Ware said.

"So that made the whole thing just that little bit more disturbing.

"I think there needs to be a conversation about how these boys handled it. If you listen to prior to what he (Hall) said and after it, I was just as shocked by their reaction. I think we need to have a conversation about what's going on with those men.

"There needs to be conversation and education. Also, the people around him - and there's a big campaign at the moment - they should have said, 'No, stop talking, Barry. This isn't OK'."

Commentators on social media led the calls for action to be taken against the Triple M commentators, including Montagna. Some declared Montagna's comments were equally as unacceptable as the joke which saw Hall sacked.

Hall has apologised on Saturday for the vulgar comment, saying it was "a silly thing to say and not a reflection of who I am".

Triple M sacked Hall immediately after his remarks during a pre-game chat at Friday night's clash between the Western Bulldogs and Geelong.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence taken from my commentary on Friday night's Triple M footy coverage," Hall told The Sunday Telegraph.

Barry Hall is not sure if he will try to return to media roles.
Barry Hall is not sure if he will try to return to media roles.

"It was a silly thing to say and it is not a reflection of who I am or what my views are.

"I am a proud father and dedicated partner and have nothing but respect for women." Hall also apologised to the former St Kilda player Montagna and his wife Erin, and wished them well with the arrival of their first baby, which is due next week.

"Once, again, I am sorry, I should not have said such an inappropriate comment on air and hope I can be forgiven and move forward from here."

Triple M released a statement on Friday night following the incident at Etihad Stadium.

"Tonight on Triple M Football, there were unacceptable and inappropriate comments made by a member of the commentary team," head of content Mike Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

"The commentator was removed immediately from the broadcast and an apology was issued on air afterwards.

"Immediate action was taken with the termination of employment for one team member."

Hall said on Sunday in Adelaide that he is "not sure" if he will pursue future job opportunities on radio talking about football.

- with AAP