A prominent Australian entertainment reporter has revealed that shortly after the death of Barry Humphries, he used a tirade of swear words to bring up a five-year-old tweet from a comedian.
Peter Ford, who has worked in Australian media for three decades, said he endured angry comments and messages after retweeting a 2018 post from comedian Hannah Gadsby in which she criticized Humphries.
Humphries, one of the country’s most acclaimed entertainers and comedians, passed away last week at the age of 89 following complications from hip surgery.
On the day Humphries died, Ford reposted Gadsby’s 2018 tweet in which she described the comic legend as hating “vulnerable minorities.”
Ford told Daily Mail Australia he was surprised by the influx of comments from irate Twitter users rushing to defend Gadsby and bombarding him with negative comments.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford posted a tweet from comedian Hannah Gadsby
“That’s not a comedian, that’s an irrelevant, inhuman bastard of the highest order,” Gadsby wrote of Humphries at the time.
Ford said that while Gadsby was “entitled” to her point of view, “comedy is subjective.”
“Hannah is entitled to her opinion. However, my take is that I understand Hannah identifying as funny, but Barry actually WAS funny. I hope she is proud of the charges against a then 84-year-old man,” he wrote.
Ford’s post was littered with angry comments, with many labeling his bringing up Gadsby’s 2018 tweet and comments as “abhorrent” and “disgusting.”
One commentator labeled Ford a “pathetic attention-seeking box chaser.”
“The expiration date has passed,” read another.
“What you are doing is absolutely disgusting,” said another.
‘But I can expect nothing less from an ‘entertainment reporter’. A completely worthless job.
Peter Ford said he was surprised by the abuse he took to Twitter and there seemed to be ‘little provocation’
Comedian Hannah Gadsby posted a tweet in 2018 critical of Barry Humphries and his comments about ‘vulnerable minorities’
Ford said he believed his post contained “very little provocation.”
“I really don’t know why they were so angry,” he said.
Ford said he’d spent the days since Humphries’s passing reporting “tirelessly” on the comedian’s legacy, but when he posted Gadsby’s comment he said it caused a “bizarre frenzy.”
Ford said he had also received nasty messages via direct message on Twitter and blocked “about 300” accounts.
However, he said the ordeal hadn’t upset him – “if you dish it out on Twitter, you gotta take it.”
Ford said Humphries was hurt by the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s decision to change the name of their grand prize, the Barry, to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award.
“It was like a kick in the guts for Barry,” he said.
“He died thinking he was rejected by his hometown.”
Ford said the name change of the best Melbourne Comedy Festival award from ‘the Barry’ was a ‘kick in the guts’ for Humphries (pictured)
Earlier this week, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival said it will consider paying tribute to Barry Humphries, but is unlikely to return to presenting the prestigious award in honor of Humphries.
The award’s renaming followed protests against Humphries’ anti-trans comments.
Ford said that Gadsby had been one of the most popular comedians at the time and led the fight to have the Humphries name dropped on the festival.
“It wasn’t Hannah’s fault, but she was very loud at the time,” he said.
Ford said that while he personally disliked some of Humphrie’s more controversial comments, he also disagreed with the Comedy Festival’s decision.
“Barry was not a spokesman for the comedy festival,” he said.
“They could have just made a statement instead of punishing him, that’s a game arts organizations shouldn’t be playing.”