Almost a decade after she called Bindi Irwin a “freak” on national television, Aussie comedian Fiona O’Loughlin, 56, has this week publicly defended her comments about the “weird” family.
Appearing on a recent episode of podcast The Little Dum Dum Club, the former I’m A Celebrity winner addressed the controversy - and claimed that she’s been “blacklisted” from the TV industry.
‘She’s a freak’
“You abused Bindi Irwin on an old episode of Spicks and Specks,” one of the podcast hosts said in reference to the statements Fiona made when she was a guest panellist on the now-defunct ABC quiz show in 2010.
During the infamous episode she called then-11-year-old Bindi “a bit creepy” and a “freak show,” and declared that the youngster needed a slap in the face.
“Did I? Did I abuse her?” Fiona responded, before admitting, “I said she was a freak, which she is, so kill me.”
“She’s 21 or something now, she can cop it,” one of the podcast hosts piped up.
The stand up comic went on to brand the entire Irwin clan - consisting Terri, 56, 15-year-old-Bob, Bindi and their late father, Steve - “weird” and suggest that the Crocodile Hunter himself was Autistic.
“Basically I was talking about that family [the Irwins]. You know, it's weird. Let's call a spade a spade. Steve Irwin had Asperger’s. You don't run around the world talking like that without being bonkers. ‘Fun’ bonkers, but bonkers,” she said.
Terri a ‘cartoon’
Fiona recalled the first time she met the Irwins when Bindi and Rob “were really young” at a corporate event where she was performing a short comedy set.
“What I saw was the freakiest thing,” she said, adding that the siblings were “dressed up” and made to watch “a full screen of their dead father playing on repeat.”
“It’s just so weird,” she said.
Later, Fiona said Terri “thinks she’s in a cartoon because [her] outfits are crazy,” and remarked on the speed with which she wrote the book My Steve following her husband’s untimely passing in 2006.
“I read the book which Terri wrote within a year of [Steve] dying. Who does that?” she asked.
Fiona went on to suggest that the youngest Irwins had an unusual upbringing at their home at Queensland’s Australia Zoo, saying, “because that’s normal, living in a zoo.”
She also mentioned a passage in the book where Terri describes her kids’ behaviour following their father’s death.
“Terri said in the book that the kids were really freaked out because, you know when somebody dies and people come to your door with casseroles or well wishes? She said in the book how freaked out the kids were because they’d never had company before. They’d never had anyone over to their house. Weird!”
The mum-of-five - who has been open about living with alcoholism - explained that she assumed her comments on Spicks and Specks would never go to air.
“It’s a prerecorded show, and I was employed as a comedian. The producers would say ‘Speak up, speak often, don’t worry, we edit it,’” she said.
It was only when Fiona had returned home to Alice Springs when she realised the repercussions of her words.
“I’m in the bath one morning and my daughter knocks on the door and she’s like, ‘Mum, did you say something bad about Bindi Irwin?’ ... I said, ‘I might have? Yeah, I think I did. Why?’ And she said, ‘Because Kochie’s talking about it.’”
‘I’ve been blacklisted’
Elsewhere in the podcast, Fiona claimed she’s been ‘blacklisted” by Australian TV executives, something she realised after winning I’m A Celebrity in 2018.
She explained how she expected that her landslide win - she collected 64 per cent of the viewer vote - would boost her career, but it didn’t.
“If you win a reality TV show, surely that tells them … don’t the networks want what the people want?” she said.
“I do think it’s rude to the audience and I don’t think Australian networks listen to the f***ing audience,” she added.
“I reckon I’ve been blacklisted from the television.”
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