Andrew Thorburn has taken a parting shot at Essendon and the public after he stood down just one day following his appointment due to backlash over his involvement in a church with divisive views around abortion and homosexuality.
Thorburn sensationally lasted just one day as Essendon's chief executive after swift criticism from the public, which included Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, caused him to resign.
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The former NAB boss, who resigned from that job in 2019 after receiving scathing criticism during the banking royal commission, was on Monday announced as the Bombers' successor to Xavier Campbell as chief executive.
However, the move sparked backlash amongst some Essendon fans and on Tuesday evening the board announced Thorburn would be leaving the club.
Thorburn is chairman of City on a Hill, a church that condemns homosexuality and has an article on its website from 2013 titled 'Surviving Same Sex Attraction as a Christian'.
Premier Andrews was one public figure to address the situation as he labelled the church's views "absolutely appalling".
However, the premier wasn't giving up his membership as a fan of Essendon.
Following Essendon's statement, Thorburn released one of his own on and took a parting shot at those who were not tolerant of his faith.
The Board of the Essendon Football Club has accepted the resignation of Andrew Thorburn as CEO.
— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) October 4, 2022
"I had seen a picture of a club that was not as broken as feared, and that with leadership and focus, could rebound strongly," he wrote on LinkedIn.
"However, today it became clear to me that my personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many. I was being required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience allowed.
"People should be able to hold different views on complex personal and moral matters, and be able to live and work together, even with those differences, and always with respect. Behaviour is the key. This is all an important part of a tolerant and diverse society.
"Let me be clear - I love all people, and have always promoted and lived an inclusive, diverse, respectful and supportive workplace - where people are welcomed regardless of their culture, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. I believe my record over a long period of time testifies to this.
"Despite my own leadership record, within hours of my appointment being announced, the media and leaders of our community had spoken. They made it clear that my Christian faith and my association with a Church are unacceptable in our culture if you wish to hold a leadership position in society."
Andrew Thorburn receives backlash for appointment
Public backlash over Thorburn's appointment was swift.
Andrews spoke to reporters about the situation on Tuesday,.
"That kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry. It's just wrong," Andrews said.
"To dress that up as anything other than bigotry is just obviously false.
"I hope we (Essendon) can get ourselves on the back page of the paper a bit more often than we're on the front page."
While the decision to appoint Brad Scott as coach was, in my view, a good one, the decision to appoint Andrew Thorburn as CEO is spitting in the face of every queer Essendon member, as well as any member or supporter who supports womens rights to reproductive healthcare.
— Deputy Mayor Tim Baxter 🏳️🌈 (@BaxterTim) October 3, 2022
City of Port Phillip Mayor Tim Baxter lashed out at the club and said he would be terminating his membership due to the board's decision.
"While the decision to appoint Brad Scott as coach was, in my view, a good one, the decision to appoint Andrew Thorburn as CEO is spitting in the face of every queer Essendon member, as well as any member or supporter who supports women's rights to reproductive healthcare," Baxter wrote.
Thorburn originally tried to quell anger around his appointment earlier on Tuesday morning when he addressed the backlash.
"My faith is a very personal thing, and my faith has helped me become a better leader," the 57-year-old told SEN on Tuesday.
"At the centre of my faith is the belief that you should create community, care for people, help people's faith and respect them as humans."
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