Prosecuted For Expressing An Opinion About Homosexuals
'Sam slammed over comments on gays' (The Courier-Mail, 10/12/2004)

Victorian football and media identity Sam Newman is facing court action and possible prison over comments about gays.

On Channel 9's Today show Newman responded to a proposal to make Melbourne Australia's premier gay city and attract more of the pink dollar. He said Melbourne did not need "mincing, lisping, parading people" and warned of "having the whole state infested with people we don't actually want".

He said if the plan went ahead Melbourne could start a new cottage industry, "sphincter bleaching".

Newman said later that he was only joking but Sydney gay activist, Gary Burns lodged a complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. Mr Burns has already won a case against Sydney broadcasters John Laws and Steve Price, who were found guilty of homosexual vilification under the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Mr Burns said Newman's comments were more offensive than those of Laws and Price, constituting serious homosexual vilification. "The comments portray homosexual males as dirty, perverted and violent," he said.

Mr Burns said that if the matter was referred to the NSW Attorney-General and it went to trial, Newman could face a maximum penalty of up to six months in prison.

But he said he would be happy if Newman's face appeared on an anti-vilification poster with words such as: "Homophobia kills, Homophobia is wrong, Sam Newman respects homosexual males."