ABC journalist Leigh Sales has revealed the horrific online abuse she received after a feisty interview with the prime minister.
Sales shared the brutal comments following her clash with Scott Morrison on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday night.
During the live interview Sales and Mr Morrison butted heads over the JobKeeper scheme and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the tense interview, Sales shared a ‘fraction of the sexualised abuse’ she receives ‘whenever I interview a prime minister’, including being called a ‘wh**e’.
‘She is in desperate need of a vibrator,’ one tweet said.
‘She pretty much sits on (Morrison’s) lap whenever she “interviews” him. No journalistic integrity for Leigh Sales,’ another wrote.
‘What a rude b***h this so called journalist is, maybe she forgets where she came from?’ said one.
‘Leigh Sales is a lefty POS. Remember when she behaved like a convorting wh**e when she interviewed Malcolm Turnbull?’ someone tweeted.
Sales, a Walkley Award-winning journalist, said other women in her industry, politics and in the spotlight were also subjected to similar abuse ‘non stop’.
Following an interview with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in April, Sales was once again the victim of shocking trolls.
‘Any interviewer is supposed to be impartial, but Sales virtually goes down on her knees to give any Lib and on-camera b***job, she gives them such an easy time,’ one man tweeted.
Sales shared the tweet with the caption: ‘Another morning, another bit of casual misogyny & abuse – basically a daily occurrence for high-profile women on social media.’
Mr Morrison’s strained appearance on the ABC program came just hours after he shut down a reporter during live questioning at his press conference.
When he was grilled by Sales about his government’s contribution to the arts sector, Mr Morrison was quick to reject any suggestion he hadn’t done enough to keep the industry afloat.
‘We can take the arts, film, TV, books, music that’s really sustained people a lot during the lockdown,’ Sales said.
‘That sector contributes billions to the Australian economy and employ 600,000 people. Fewer than half are eligible for JobKeeper.’
‘That’s not true,’ Mr Morrison interrupted.
He repeated the line again before saying ‘no, I’m sorry. JobKeeper has been an absolute lifeline for them’.
The veteran journalist also cited flaws with government subsidies, particularly the $60billion overestimate of the cost of JobKeeper.
‘If Labor in power had made those blunders, the Coalition would be screaming absolute blue murder about economic mismanagement,’ Sales said.
Mr Morrison said the decision to create a flat rate for JobKeeper payments also took into consideration that a lot of part time workers had second or third jobs which were lost during the crisis.
Mr Morrison appeared frustrated to be repeating himself yet again as he urged Australians to keep up social distancing practices and following health directives.
‘It [the virus] hasn’t gone anywhere, and we can’t act like it has,’ he said at the end of a long spiel about the way Australians should be living in the coming weeks.
When Sales suggested an ‘aggressive suppression’ of the virus was impossible, Mr Morrison fired back and asked what she would do in his position.
‘Well what’s the alternative, Leigh?’ Mr Morrison asked. ‘We’re in uncharted waters. The whole world is. Everyone is working together and I think we’re learning from that.
‘All leaders, all governments, are seeking to work together and learn from each other. Everyone is endeavouring to put their best foot forward.
‘Australia is doing better than almost every country in the western world.’
Mr Morrison also defended the implementation of the COVIDSafe app, despite it so far not identifying a single new case of community transmission.
The app has successfully worked alongside manual contact tracing, Mr Morrison said.
Sales suggested Australians simply ‘bin the app’.
‘That would be dangerous,’ Mr Morrison said. ‘What it does is it works with the manual tracing, the two go together.’
The tense interview came just hours after Mr Morrison told a reporter that no-one cares about his question during a press conference to announce the extension of JobKeeper on Tuesday morning.
Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell asked the prime minister if he was planning to call an election next year to capitalise on his popularity.
A stern Mr Morrison responded by saying Australians do not care about the next election when people are dying in Victoria.
‘Politics is nowhere near my mind,’ he said.
‘I mean, I don’t think Australians could care less when the next election was and, frankly, right now it’s got nothing factoring into my thinking not at all.
‘I know it may totally fascinate people who stand in this courtyard, at least some of them, but it is just not a factor,’ the prime minister continued.
‘I mean, we have got an outbreak in Victoria and people are dying and you’re asking me questions about when the next election is.
‘I think we need to focus on what the real issues are here and it’s not when the next election is.’
Mr Morrison then moved on to another question without letting the reporter reply.
Speculation has been growing that Mr Morrison will call an election next year because he is so popular after successfully handling the coronavirus crisis.
A Newspoll on Monday found Mr Morrison has a 33-point lead as preferred prime minister over Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
Mr Morrison is on 59 per cent while his rival’s support remains steady at 26 per cent.