OPINION: Don Burke's friendly eyes hide a dark past

I REMEMBER watching Burke's Backyard when I was younger.

I watched it because my parents did, not because I had an interest in gardening.

Flicking through TV channels on Monday night I came across Don Burke's recognisable face on A Current Affair.

What followed completely shocked me.

The man Australians watched fondly, who shared tips on how to maintain a garden, was being accused of indecently assaulting and sexually harassing a number of women.

All of a sudden, the G rated family gardening show had an R18+ undertone.

The man whose eyes had a friendly shine had been accused of grabbing women's breasts, putting his hand down a woman's shirt and even telling a woman she should audition for his show topless.

Many of the allegations were from 30 years ago, a time frame in which Don believes a person can easily forget.

Let's get one thing straight.

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If you were sexually harassed, there is no way you will forget it. Ever.

One thing I've learned in my career is to never jump to conclusions.

As much as I am disgusted by the allegations, I cannot say that he did it.

However, the way he presented himself and told his side of the story on Monday night did not convince me.

Don, you can't disregard allegations purely because a person may not remember the events clearly.

You can't claim your "jokes" were taken the wrong way.

You can't blame your behaviour on an illness like Asperger's, especially when it's self-diagnosed, not medically diagnosed.

Don, if the allegations are true, there is no excuse for your behaviour.

Unfortunately, the unmistakable theme music to Burke's Backyard no longer has the warm feel it once did.

"Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees.

A sheep or two, a kangaroo, a clothesline out the back.

Verandah out the front and an old rocking chair."



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