Sports broadcaster Megan Barnard has returned to Australian television screens following the sacking of a former colleague.
Fox Sports presenter Megan Barnard has returned to Australian television screens five days after the highly-publicised sacking of former colleague Tom Morris.
Barnard, who has worked for Foxtel since 2013, presented Australia’s World Cup group stage fixture against South Africa in Wellington on Tuesday morning.
The 37-year-old has been one of the leading broadcasters for women’s cricket in Australia, regularly presenting Fox Sports’ WBBL coverage since 2018.
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Morris was stood down by Fox Sports after lewd videos from a leaked WhatsApp group, which revealed Barnard’s sexuality, began circulating social media earlier this week.
It’s also alleged he made homophobic and racist comments in a separate clip.
Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley said Morris’ actions were “unacceptable”.
“Our culture at Fox Sports is based on a respectful, inclusive environment and a fair go for all,” he said in a statement.
“While Tom’s journalism has made a valuable contribution to Fox Sports over the past seven years, the message we became aware of yesterday crossed the line. It was unacceptable.
“We have the best in the business working at Fox Sports. We love what we do, and we have a reputation as a great place to work. The bottom line is we are committed to a work environment where everyone can come to work in the knowledge they are safe, respected and valued. We have zero-tolerance for anything less than that.”
In a statement uploaded to Instagram on Sunday afternoon, Barnard thanked those who voiced their support and hoped her experience would serve as a “catalyst for change” in the media industry.
“I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received over the past few days in response to the comments about me in the media,” she wrote.
“To everyone who has reached out, thank you. Fortunately, I am at a place in my life where I am comfortable with who I am and I can handle something deeply personal becoming public. But had this happened as recently as a few years ago, it would not have been the case. “Coming out is a process and should never be taken out of someone’s hands. Nor should anyone be spoken about in such a degrading manner. I hope my experience can be a catalyst for change in not just the sports industry, but in every industry.”
Morris released a statement on Twitter on Friday night, apologizing for his behavior.
“I would like to unconditionally apologise to everyone for my disgusting and disgraceful comments, which became public yesterday,” he wrote.
“I am especially sorry to the person involved. No one should ever in any place, or at any time, be spoken about in that way.
“I am deeply ashamed of my behavior. My comments were hurtful to many and I will now take the time to listen, learn and work to improve myself, ensuring I become a better person. I am truly sorry to everyone.”
Former Melbourne captain and Fox Footy presenter Garry Lyon said he supported the decision to sack Morris.
“We understand and respect the standards and the values of everyone here at the Foxtel group and we – the on-air group – have a responsibility to live those values and not just pay lip service to them,” he told Fox Footy on Friday.
“We’ve got to be better, we need to be better. And most important in all of this, there’s an innocent party through no fault of this person, finds herself under enormous pressure and our thoughts are with her tonight.”
Australia cruised to a sixth consecutive World Cup victory in Wellington, with skipper Meg Lanning smacking a record 15th ODI century to help chase South Africa’s 272-run target with 28 balls to spare.
The Aussies have won 37 of its 39 ODI matches since 2017’s shock World Cup semi-final exit, including a record-breaking 26 consecutive victories between 2018 and 2021.
Australia, who have already qualified for the semi-finals, will next face Bangladesh in Wellington on Friday, with the first ball scheduled for 9am AEDT.