Sky News anchor Kay Burley was all over social media after video circulated showing her grilling U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock during an interview over the proposal to appoint former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a trade envoy.
The interview between Burley and Hancock turned uncomfortable after Hancock said Abbot had “a huge amount of experience” that justified his appointment for a position on trade.
“Even if he’s a homophobic misogynist?” Burley pointedly asked.
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 3, 2020
“Well, I, I’m I, I, I don’t think that’s true,” Hancock responded as a split screen showed Burley looking on.
She then interjected “well, I just told you what he said. I’m sure you don’t support some of his comments. He’s a homophobe, and he’s a misogynist.”
“Well, uh, he’s also an expert in trade,” Hancock replied, to Burley’s very evident exasperation.
“So one plays off against the other? Really?” she said. “Is that really what you’re saying Mr. Health Secretary? Come on.”
“Well, no. What I’m saying is we need experts in different areas and, um, somebody who’s the former prime minister of Australia is obviously an enormous expert in the field of trade. It doesn’t change my views,” Hancock said.
Abbott is a Catholic who has publicly opposed same-sex marriage and once said he felt “a bit threatened” by the LGBT community, according to The Washington Post.
He also described women who have abortions as taking the easy way out, according to The Guardian.
In 2012, when he was Australia’s Liberal Party leader, he gave a speech in front of offensive signs about Australia’s former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“I was offended when the leader of the opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said ‘Ditch the witch,’” Gillard said during a speech to Australia’s Parliament. “I was offended when the leader of the opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man’s b—-.”
Abbott has yet to be officially appointed as Britain’s trade envoy, though he faces steep criticism from the public as officials eye him for the position.
“It is shameful that Boris Johnson thinks this offensive, aggressive, leering, gaffe-prone misogynist is the right person to represent our country overseas,” said Emily Thornberry, a Parliament member at the helm of Labour’s international trade platform.
Abbott has also caught crossfire for recent comments he made about the COVID-19 pandemic when he said governments needed to ask “uncomfortable questions” about letting elderly patients die from the virus.