Don Burke horrifies Jess Rowe
A SERIES of crude and offensive TV moments featuring Don Burke have been unearthed today following his denials of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.
In footage from 2011, he almost makes Jessica Rowe walk off a panel show by saying he loves "a good f**k".
In another clip, he asks actor Annalise Braaksensiek if her breasts are real, and in a 1992 episode of Burke's Backyard, he tells visibly annoyed actor Sophie Lee that "most people probably wouldn't think you came from an academic family".
During his chat with Australian model and actor Braaksensiek, Burke tells her: "I will not ask you the question you loathe," as she replies, "thank you!"
He continues: "I will not ask: 'Are your breasts real?' But are they?"
The topic on a 2011 episode of Channel 10 talk show Can of Worms featuring Burke and Rowe was, "Do Australians swear too much?"
The footage shows the gardener saying: "I love swearing, I think it's absolutely fantastic, and I'll be perfectly honest, I love nothing better than a good f**k."
Rowe, who is now a co-host of Studio 10, looks shocked at his comment and stands up to leave the set. "Can I walk out?" she asks, getting to her feet. "That's offensive."
The Burke's Backyard star says "let her go" before host Ian "Dicko" Dickson persuades her to sit down. The gardening expert then continues: "I think it gives you the ability to say intense things that you need to say.
"If you're at a party or a social event and someone doesn't like it, you don't do it, same as you don't scratch your balls."
Rowe replies: "But you've just done it. I always thought he was a nice man, looking after people's gardens."
And Burke continues: "It's a male initiate language to bond hunting groups together, that's why you don't do it in front of women and children because it's supposed to bond men together so they can go and hunt wildebeests.
"Once, when women and kids were down there and away and men were up here you didn't swear in front of them, perhaps as equality comes, you relax those things."
When Rowe said she felt as though there was still "that exclusion", he replied: "Not with me, I think you're f***ing great."
He added that the c-word was "the only good word left", but that he wouldn't use it or "f**k" in front of his grandkids. Asked which swearwords he would use, he lists "bloody ... probably not bugger, with sensitivity."
Co-host Meshel Laurie injects, to laughter from the audience: "You are the ultimate pop, the ultimate grandad. That is so sweet and yet weird. I know you mean it sweetly."
Burke, 70, has strongly denied allegations of sexual harassment and bullying made by a joint ABC/Fairfax investigation, saying they came about because he was a perfectionist at work.
Former colleagues alleged the gardening guru was a "psychotic bully", a "misogynist" and a "sexual predator". The claims are reported to come from more than 50 people who worked with Burke in the late 1980s and 1990s.