Ben Cousins arrested again days after controversial interview
Ben Cousins has been arrested again in Perth just days after a paid TV interview that was widely condemned as ‘exploitative’ of the fallen former AFL star.
Police had been searching for a vehicle that was seen driving erratically in Perth's inner-southern suburbs around midday on Wednesday.
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Cousins, 41, was later arrested nearby, reportedly in possession of methylamphetamine, and inquiries are continuing.
The former premiership player and Brownlow medallist has been in and out of prison in recent years as he struggled with his meth addiction, and served almost one year behind bars for stalking his ex-partner Maylea Tinecheff.
He had been scheduled to face a trial last September over more alleged family violence offences, but after charges of stalking and threatening to harm Ms Tinecheff were dropped, he pleaded guilty to 12 lesser offences.
He was sentenced to eight months in prison but it was backdated and with time already served, was able to walk free in August.
His lawyer Michael Tudori told AAP at the time his client was doing well and continuing to self-fund his rehabilitation with the Whitehaven Clinic, saying it was “a long road to recovery”.
Cousins recently opened up in an expletive-laden, paid TV documentary about his family, substance abuse and time in jail.
“I've stuffed things up royally. It's time, I think ... to get things right,” he told the Seven Network.
“In a perfect world I would've liked to have come out the other side a long time ago, but it hasn't been the case.”
So sad Ben cousins arrested again today and back in jail . Busted with 2.5 grams of ice while a sleep in his car . https://t.co/oSilBHUeob
— @Georgebakhos1 (@GeorgeBakhos1) April 22, 2020
It’s so sad to see this again for Ben Cousins but until he is 100% mentally ready to fight his demons this will keep happening.
— 💧Debbie Tiffany M 🔥🦠 (@debisaprincess) April 22, 2020
Controversy over Ben Cousins interview
The interview sparked controversy among fans and commentators, with many feeling Cousins should not have been giving an interview at this time of his life.
Shanna Whan, the founder and CEO of charity ‘Sober in the Country’, described the interview as ‘appalling’ and ‘exploitative’.
“Last night Channel 7 aired a documentary called ‘Ben Cousins: Coming Clean’ – and I speak on behalf of plenty of us on the addictions frontline when I say it was the most grossly negligent, exploitative and abhorrent piece of media yet in 2020,” Whan wrote online.
“The misleading title was the first of endless ethical offences and breaches for which Channel 7 and the interviewer Basil Zempilas need to issue an apology; because Ben Cousins is clearly anything but ‘coming clean.’
“What he ‘is’ is a patently fragile, sick, and extremely vulnerable high-risk human being who was literally paraded like a monkey with appalling editing and a D-Grade soundtrack last night for nothing more than station-ratings.”
... watching this Ben Cousins interview makes me very, very glad I said no to that network covering my story. Argh. Appalling. The man is NOT okay. Nor is this interview 🙅♀️
Duty of care? Zero. I’m actually fuming. #bencousins #interview #channel7
— Sober in the Country (@shannawhan) March 29, 2020
And Whan doubled down on Wednesday night after Cousins’ latest arrest, tweeting: “Terribly sad to hear about Ben Cousins being back in jail. But not at all surprised.”
“I am guessing that the 7 network won’t be “there for him” now that they’ve got their ratings and their dirt. Stay safe, Ben. And please know there’s a way out of this hell.”
Terribly sad to hear about Ben Cousins being back in jail. But not at all surprised. I am guessing that the 7 network won’t be “there for him” now that they’ve got their ratings and their dirt. Stay safe, Ben. And please know there’s a way out of this hell 🙏🏻🙏🏻
— Sober in the Country (@shannawhan) April 22, 2020
Former Wallabies star Matt Giteau also expressed his anger on social media after the interview, along with scores of others.
“Channel 7 couldn’t care less about Ben Cousins in my opinion.. Just wanted the story,” Giteau wrote.
“I felt he was taken advantage of badly & the whole thing was just sad. Say what you want of him but I really hope he gets the help he desperately needs.”
Channel 7 couldn’t care less about Ben Cousins in my opinion.. Just wanted the story.. I felt he was taken advantage of badly & the whole thing was just sad. Say what you want of him but I really hope he gets the help he desperately needs#BenCousins
— Matt Giteau 🇦🇺 (@giteau_rugby) March 29, 2020
That was very awkward viewing and it felt exploitative. Presumably Channel 7 paid #BenCousins for that “interview “... the money would have been far better spent donated to genuine drug rehabilitation programs for Ben.
— John Gardner (@JohnGardner72) March 29, 2020
The Ben Cousins interview is one of the worst I have ever seen. There was a way to do this in a respectful way, and this misses it completely .
— MGH (@MichelleGHunder) March 29, 2020
Can’t think any good came from that. Was my childhood hero but it’s just sad to see how he is now. Not ready to talk about his Mental Health/Drug Problems let alone fight them. Fingers crossed he surrounds himself with the right people & gets on track, one day 🙏❤️#BenCousins
— Adam McGrath (@AdamMcGrath89) March 29, 2020
Horrible seeing Ben Cousins like this. Tragically it doesn’t seem like he believes he can conquer it.
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) March 29, 2020
Veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson also described parts of the interview as “beyond grubby" and “beyond demeaning.”
The Brownlow Medal winner and six-time All Australian played 238 games for West Coast before he was axed in 2007 after he was arrested on drug-related charges.
He was banned by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute soon after he was dumped by the Eagles.
He went on to play 32 games in two years at Richmond before retiring at the age of 32 at the end of the 2010 season.