Clementine Ford apologises for 'offensive' coronavirus comment

Marni Dixit
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Clementine Ford has apologised after sharing a controversial coronavirus tweet on the weekend.

The tweet, which sparked outrage from a number of people, including the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, read, "Honestly, the corona virus isn't killing men fast enough."

Clementine Ford has apologised after sharing an "offensive" coronavirus joke. Photo: Instagram/Clementine Ford

The comment, which has since been deleted, was posted in response to an article about women who have been forced to take on extra work during the coronavirus pandemic as they are managing their households, as well as childcare and their own day-to-day work.

Unsurprisingly, male readers were unimpressed with the comment with former senator Derryn Hinch writing, "Take this on board: A woman who tweeted ‘Honestly, the Corona virus is not killing men fast enough’ has recently been given a ratepayer- funded literary grant by the Melbourne City Council. It must be rescinded."

Media personality Peter Ford also wrote, "Worth remembering this sweet lady just got a grant from Melbourne City Council to spread her wisdom..."

Clementine quickly responded to the tweets, saying, "LOL the replies to this show exactly how fragile men are. The same men who insist all the time that women laugh at jokes about violence against us because 'dark humour' and 'relieving tension'. Men are pathetic."

The writer added, "And because some men (not all of them!) clearly need context explained to them, the Corona tweet was in response to this article, outline *yet again* the unpaid domestic burden men place on women, because they can’t care for their own fkn kids."

"Christ alfkn Mighty, men love to screech about snowflakes and triggered feminists and women not being able to take a joke and they crumble at the first sign of a hyperbolic tweet that doesn’t place them as gods at the centre of the universe. Ding dongs, all of them."

The Herald Sun reported on Saturday the Melbourne City Council arts grant that had been awarded to Clementine would be put under review.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Clementine's comments were "deliberately divisive".

“I found these comments offensive and distasteful and I agree with the sentiment of outrage expressed by many members of our community," she said, revealing she'd also asked for the council's CEO to review the process that saw Clementine awarded with the grant.

On Sunday, Clementine apologised for the tweet in a long Twitter thread, saying, "I’m a big enough person to admit when I’ve misjudged something. I still stand 100% behind my fury at men exploiting women’s unpaid labour (exacerbated by the global pandemic), but I’ve reconsidered my flippancy in discussing it.

"I’ve always maintained that the difference between jokes that punch up and down is the reality of harm. Eg joking about firing men into the sun has no basis in reality and therefore no potential to further harm, while 'jokes' about domestic abuse are very much reflective of an extensive harm already in place.

"The corona tweet was contextually in response to the fact women are once again shouldering the burden of domestic labour at the expense of their own economic freedom, being let down by men who are in turn upheld by systems that have privileged them. It is acceptable to express fury at that, and it’s disappointing more men aren’t outraged by this reality.

"But based on my own metric outlined up thread, I have to accept fault for the corona tweet because it made a flippant joke about something that IS actually a harmful reality, and one that affects marginalised men disproportionately, not to mention robs people of their loved ones. Regardless of what people want to think about me, I have no wish to compound harm and grief for anyone, nor be dismissive of the very real impact and fear a crisis like this presents.

"But I also think it’s fair to be angry at the lack of interest in this crisis’ impact on women. To be astonished at how women are expected to perform the essential tasks that allow men to thrive, at the expense of women’s stability, while being denied recognition for that work.

"A flippant (and yes, poorly judged) tweet doesn’t change that reality and it shouldn’t shift the focus away from it. If we benefit from privilege, we should also be robust enough to accept critique of the systems that privilege us and work to change them.

"Anyway, this acknowledgement isn’t for the men who are looking for any reason to ignore patriarchal impact but for the people genuinely hurt by my words. I’m sincerely sorry, and I wish I had framed my argument in better terms and in a way that didn’t compound harm."

While some of her followers were happy with the response, many responded saying it wasn’t enough.

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