Comedian Arj Barker Asks Breastfeeding Mom to Leave Show After Her Baby Interrupts Set by 'Talking'

Barker later released a statement to his Instagram defending his choice

<p>James D. Morgan/Getty</p> Arj Barker

James D. Morgan/Getty

Arj Barker

Comedian Arj Barker is getting flack for asking a breastfeeding mother and her baby to exit his comedy show over the weekend at the Athenaeum in Melbourne.

On Monday, April 22, Barker released a lengthy statement on his Instagram, titled "BabyGate: Let's Clear The Air," addressing the situation, saying that as his set began, he heard a baby "talking" a few rows away from the stage. He says he made a few jokes about hoping the baby wouldn't disrupt his show and moved on.

But when the baby "called out again," Barker says he was "quite concerned" and decided to make what he calls a "difficult decision."

"I then calmly informed the woman holding the baby that the baby couldn't stay. I felt bad doing so and stated this at the time as well as several times during the remainder of the show," Barker writes. "As she was leaving, I offered for her to get a refund, as a gesture of good will."

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Related: Mom Unsure If She Should Confess Breastmilk Was in Son's Cereal — Which Was Eaten by Her Father-in-Law

The comedian went on to underscore that this was a "very tough call" but adds he made it on behalf of the "other 700 or so audience members" who he says "deserved to see the show they had paid for, uninterrupted."

Barker also points out that it was stated on the ticket purchase site that the show was "strictly for audiences 15+" and says that the theater should've addressed the issue before seating her.

He continues, saying that his decision to ask the woman had nothing to do with whether she was breastfeeding. "For the record, I support public breastfeeding, as it's perfectly natural," Barker says.

"I've nothing against babies, in fact I was one once, for almost 2 years," he jokes.

The mother who was ousted from the show, Trish Faranda, later spoke with the Australian TV show A Current Affair, saying the incident was "embarrassing."

<p>Getty</p> Stock photo of woman breastfeeding a baby.


Stock photo of woman breastfeeding a baby.

"She started gurgling, babbling...but not for very long, because then I just gave her a quick feed and she was quiet," Faranda shares. When her 8-month-old daughter Clara began making sounds again, Faranda described them as sounding like "someone coughing."

Faranda says she's not mad about being asked to leave, but felt that the way Barker went about asking her was inappropriate.

"Had he just nicely said, off the mic, 'Do you mind leaving?' I would've been gone and it wouldn't have been an issue," she tells the outlet. "It was embarrassing, you know. People were yelling out. It's not fun to walk out like that and I don't think I deserved to walk out like that."

While Barker didn't directly apologize to Faranda in his statement, he did say that he "feels bad for any upset it has caused the parties involved, or my fans, or babies."

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