Comic’s rambling defence of mum backlash

Arj Barker responds to breastfeeding mum. Picture Today.JPG
Comedian Arj Barker responds to breastfeeding mum who he booted from his show. Picture: Today

Comedian Arj Barker has delivered a rambling defence as to why he asked a breastfeeding mum to leave in the middle of a show in Australia.

The US comedian has been the target of criticism after Melbourne mum Trisha Faranda said he asked her to leave his show because her baby was distracting him.

Mr Barker joined Today on Tuesday to defend the decision, saying he had no idea the woman was breastfeeding when he called her out in front of the crowd.

“Absolutely, had no idea if she was breastfeeding or not, let’s stop talking about that,” he said, his voice climbing an octave.

Arj Barker responds to breastfeeding mum. Picture Today.JPG
Comedian Arj Barker has defended his decision to ask a breastfeeding mum to leave his show. Picture: Today.

Today host Karl Stefanovic could hardly get a word in as Barker’s sentences ran into the next, becoming increasingly agitated as he attempted to explain that it was all a miscommunication.

“I couldn’t see well enough to know that (she was breastfeeding), and I’m glad that you’re letting me stress that point,” he said, claiming he only learnt she had been breastfeeding two days after the show.

“I didn’t mean to raise my voice.”

“This is something that I want to clear up. I have no animosity towards anyone. I just want to tell jokes and do a great show.”

Arj Barker responds to breastfeeding mum. Picture Today.JPG
Barker denied the claim that he had ‘lost his train of thought’. Picture: Today

He denied the allegation that he “lost his train of thought”, instead claiming he was solely concerned with his audience’s experience of the show and ensuring they could hear “pauses and timing”.

He said some of his audience members were yelling, but he was concerned with “gently asking her to remove the baby”.

“I feel bad for how much angst and upset this has caused because people who know me, they know I’m not a bad guy,” he said.

However, Melbourne mum Trish Faranda said she wouldn’t be talking about it if he had “politely” asked her to leave.

“But that’s not what he did, you know,” she said.

“He came over and he was on the mic and he was using his position on the stage to intimidate me and he did that in front of all those people.

“Then he called on the crowd to support him in it and as we left the crowd was yelling out abuse. He stood there and all he said was, ‘I’ll give you a refund’.”

Later in the show, Today brought out a panel of female reporters and mothers, including Jayne Azzopardi, Renee Barge and Sylvia Jeffreys, to debate the topic.

“If he were a mother, maybe he’d be able to multitask,” Jeffreys quipped.

“He says that he didn’t see that she was breastfeeding. I’m just wondering why else he thought she would bring a baby to the show.

“She was breastfeeding the baby and breastfeeding is hard enough without a whole theatre of people turning on you and heckling you out of there.”