Herald Sun commentator Andrew Bolt is never far from the attention of the Wankley judges and this week was no different as he tore into the family of Skye Webbe, the passenger in a high-speed car crash that ended in the death of four people in Canberra. As Skye’s mother Debbie Webbe went on A Current Affair to air her frustrations at the police for their role in the incident, Bolt couldn’t resist:

“Oh, I see, Mrs Webbe. There are no real criminals, right? Just the nice people you know who by pure chance mix with some faceless baddies, and can’t possibly be blamed when they steal other people’s cars, break into their houses, use false number plates, give two fingers to court orders, drive like death, flee the police and kill two parents and their baby, Brody.”

Bolt went further, criticising Webbe as “she wore a sleeveless shirt to better show her tatt” and alluded to a “scary” subculture that mourned with Jim Beam instead of flowers. Then, just for good measure, he threw this hand grenade into the mix:

“What a world we are literally creating. Two centuries ago in Britain, the rich outbred the poor, and pushed their values down the social scale. Now the poor — many virtuous, yes, but others lazy, careless or unsocialised — outbreed the rich, and the mob’s values are pushed up.”

ACA, meanwhile, has been entirely distracted by the back-stage drama on Hey Dad!. Amidst the usual schedule of dodgy builders, miracle diets and grocery prices it hit the jackpot this week in airing actress Sarah Monahan’s allegations that she was subjected to sexual abuse on the set. Blanket coverage was spun into ratings gold in the eternal struggle against Today Tonight.

While the original story is current affairs television at its seedy and sordid best, it is the subsequent naming and shaming of actor Robert Hughes as the alleged perpetrator that sees ACA take out this week’s Wankley. ACA named Hughes — who played the character of Mr Kelly on the show — before Monahan had provided a statement to NSW police.

Hughes is yet to be charged with any offence, yet ACA have been barely able to hide their indignant rage, splashing the word “predator” all over images of Hughes as they dispatched a sleuth to hunt him down in Singapore.

In an attempt to justify their crucifixion of Hughes, Grimshaw delivered a sanctimonious explanation on Wednesday night as to why they chose to publicly connect Hughes to the Monahan allegations. Then, last night, ACA muddied the waters further by airing additional allegations, as two sisters — their images blacked out but their voices clear — accused Hughes of abusing them as well. Only now, Grimshaw assured us last night, Wankley Award in hand, will the program co-operate with police.

Hughes has denied the allegations and is talking to the lawyers. Guilty or innocent, his inevitable argument of a prejudiced trial seems watertight.

Peter Fray

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