It’s another day and another Aussie media personality stirring up controversy on Twitter with their polarising opinions on the COVID-19 situation in Victoria.
Hot on the heels of radio host Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes’ public attack on state premiere Dan Andrews comes former Studio 10 star Joe Hildebrand’s divisive take on Melburnians’ face mask-wearing habits.
In a column for his new employer, the Daily Telegraph, Joe takes aim at the ‘poor’ residents of the outer suburbs have ‘ceased to give a f**k’ when it comes to wearing face masks.
The rich inhabitants of the inner suburbs, however, are ‘devoted’ to adhering to the VIC government’s face mask regulations, he claims.
“Melbourne has become a tale of two cities.
“In the progressive and affluent inner suburbs there is a devotional adherence to mask-wearing and shop-shutting that borders on zealotry, to the point where commentators are writing public love letters to the Premier and chief health officer.
“Meanwhile, in the poorer outer suburbs of the west and southeast people have simply ceased to give a f**k.”
While the article was originally published back on August 8, a screenshot of this particular excerpt was shared on Twitter on Monday morning sparking a backlash against the outspoken journalist.
Many hailing from Melbourn’s west and southeast took to the platform to hit back at Joe’s ‘bullsh*t’ comments.
“I live outside of the city and I can't express to you just how wrong [Joe] is about my town,” one wrote.
“As a resident of the ‘poorer outer suburbs’ mentioned here — we don't call ourselves that, by the way — I'm gonna go ahead and call bullsh*t on this @Joe_Hildebrand. Everyone is wearing a mask,” another added.
“Completely agree. Outer suburbs here too and everyone wearing a mask. This guy is so out of touch,” replied one.
Others were simply bemused that Joe was delivering his opinion on the situation in Melbourne despite calling Sydney home for some time.
“I see you’re still pretending to live in Melbourne, then? How’s your Sydney mortgage going there, Curly? Old darling?” wrote one.
“And another pearl of wisdom from a Sydneysider who hasn’t set foot here in literally months and consequently knows #FA about how Melbourne is dealing with its toughest year in living memory,” added another.
Joe responded to the outrage by appearing to align himself with those living in the ‘outer suburbs’.
“The perfect example of the green left’s sneering contempt for the poor. This is why we need to take Labor back to the heartland,” he tweeted.
One Twitter user wasn’t sure why Joe — who sold his two-bedroom home in Sydney’s inner west for $1.57 million in 2018 — felt he was in a position to speak on behalf of ‘the poor’.
“The greatest hardship @Joe_Hildebrand has ever gone through is being moved to day time television. Joe, don't for a second act like you know the first thing about the struggles of or what's best for working class people,” they wrote.
Joe did receive support from some Twitter users who agreed with his point of view.
“Exactly - Dan and the virus is showing everyone’s true colours and it ain’t pretty a lot of the time,” one wrote.
I see you're trending @Joe_Hildebrand you must have said something that might be critical of #DictatorDan... Keep bringing facts and truth Joe and standing up for the normal folk out there,” another added.
Hughesy’s lockdown fury
Comedian Dave ‘Hughesy’ Hughes stirred the pot last week when he added his voice to those criticising Dan Andrews’ government for restricting AFL Grand Final viewing parties to the same household while green-lighting a racecourse meet of one thousand people the same weekend.
The decision to allow the meet was scrapped soon after, with the government explaining it was too ‘unpopular’ with Victorians.
While plenty of high-profile Aussies took to social media with their outrage, Hughesy copped heat after some argued he was suggesting the city’s lockdown should be eased to allow fans to watch the footy with their mates.
“Hey @DanielAndrewsMP,” the comedian tweeted on Tuesday before the decision was reversed.
“You probably can’t remember who made ‘Horse owner crews can party at Melb race track this weekend’ decision but as Covid now appears less of a concern for you, maybe also ‘Two families can enjoy [AFL] grand final this Saturday together’?”
The scathing tweet stirred up debate, much of it from people who argued the comedian had also profited off relaxed rules when it came to filming The Masked Singer in the state, calling his critique ‘hypocritical’.
“Dave Hughes was oddly silent about uniform rules when he could film his singer tv show in the middle of weeks of hundreds of daily cases, even when the show had an outbreak,” one pointed out. “Now that’s wrapped up he can channel his efforts into inciting the mob to be aggrieved.”
Others argued his call for the AFL grand final allowance was also irresponsible.
“Of course we Victorians would love to enjoy the AFL GF either at the game or with family and friends,” one person wrote. “But it cannot happen to safeguard the health of our great State. Please get off your populist high horse & go the journey with us all!”
Hughesy later clarified it was the retraction of the racing decision and not the AFL final the tweet was meant to highlight, though in the same thread he tweeted: “Two family @afl GF viewing parties allowed and I’ll be...” punctuated with a celebration emoji.
It comes after fellow Melburnian Bec Judd was slammed earlier in the week for appearing on her Instagram sporting a ‘Free Melbourne’ T-shirt on the back of calling Dan Andrews ‘dictator Dan’ in social media posts.
Additional reporting by Penny Burfitt.
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