Nine turn blind eye to Molan-Joey drama
This is not a column about trolls - stuff them.
This is a column about how a woman has copped it for a week because a man allegedly doesn't want to work with her and how Channel Nine let this happen.
It's about the predictable disrespect shown by Nine, who have this week failed to strongly publicly support Erin Molan, one of the faces on their rugby league coverage, as she endured relentless stream of vitriol on social media. Days of backlash that included death threats and potshots at her professionalism.
Nine's public silence this week is telling and the epic fallout between Andrew Johns and Molan has been handled appallingly by the network.
It is alleged that the rugby league Immortal won't work with, and won't even talk to, Molan. It's understood they've barely had a lengthy conversation in recent seasons. Johns is reluctant to explain in full to Molan why he can't work with her and has done little publicly to say the feud is grossly untrue - instead, remarking that "good old rugby league just thrives on rumours and innuendo".
Johns started the 2019 season on Friday Night Footy alongside Molan before disappearing midway through the year because it is alleged he couldn't stand working with her.
He was subsequently replaced by Billy Slater.
As a source told the Daily Mail this week: "Joey is a stubborn bastard. If somewhere along the line she's p***ed him off, he'll probably carry it around for the rest of his life."
Johns has also reportedly told the network he would not pretend he had no problem with her after Phil Rothfield exclusively broke the falling out between the Nine stars last Sunday.
But the firestorm that followed one of the messiest fallouts in rugby league all could have been avoided if Channel Nine had managed the situation better.
When you are dealing with some of the most prolific people on TV in Australia, and you're only one leak away from a scandal, don't you think management would have had a handle on it? Fixed it. Smoothed it over. Got the peace pipe out.
They didn't and haven't.
That they thought Molan should just cop a co-worker not talking to her, and refusing to work with her, speaks volumes of that Channel Nine work environment. As one Nine staffer said, "Everyone is talking about the impact, especially on Erin … how they've [Channel Nine] gone dead in their defence of Erin."
And Nine have, clearly, failed to get Johns and Molan into a space to sort it out. Or just haven't bothered to. Nine bosses have known they've had a problem for quite some time and turning a blind eye to it has now been followed by Molan having to endure yet another mountain of criticism and rage on the internet.
This week trolls told Molan she should die because she is "ruining rugby league", that her husband should push her in front of an oncoming car and that radio guy Kyle Sandilands said he heard she was "difficult" to work with.
Molan has had her professionalism questioned and attacked daily.
There was a report this week that alleged Molan's "giggling" on the sports coverage and "interrupts" panellists that most irked Johns. Another Nine insider said that this report was simply "untrue". That she was, to the contrary, often reprimanded by producers for letting the talent and other panellists talk too much and just laughed with the boys when a joke was made.
Molan has had a flurry of support this week, from fellow former Footy Show panellist Beau Ryan to WSFM host Amanda Keller, who emotionally backed her. "I get emotional with this, Erin," Keller said as her voice cracked. "I don't understand why people give you a hard time.
"It pisses me off. And I think it's because you are so professional and you are so good at your job, that I think that men don't like you being good at what they still see as their world. I admire the pants off you, or the eyeballs off you, and I just think you are the most professional female and it's threatened everybody."
Channel Nine's treatment of women on their sport coverage has been poor in the past. Four years ago they were flying the men on The Footy Show in business while the women flew economy. Back then, the female sports hosts were vastly underpaid in comparison with their male counterparts.
In the end, this is all about affording respect to everyone in the workplace. The respect given to you shouldn't depend on how well you could pass a Steeden.
This was an avoidable scandal. Instead, it has damaged the build-up to Nine's rugby league coverage. When viewers tune into the grand final today, the fractured falling out between two of their biggest stars will be impossible to ignore.