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Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson has panned the line of questioning in Channel 7’s interview with Ben Cousins as ‘dreadful’.
Cousins sat down with Basil Zempilas for his first interview in 10 years, with ‘Ben Cousins: Coming Clean’ airing on Channel 7 on Sunday night.
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Many have slammed the interview, which aired Sunday night, with charity CEO Shanna Whan and former Wallabies star Matt Giteau leading the condemnation.
But Wilson also had some scathing criticism and labelled the line of questioning from interviewer Zempilas as “beyond grubby" and "beyond demeaning".
In the segment, Zempilas showed the former Eagles star a nude photo of himself taken at a tanning salon years ago and Wilson wasn’t happy with the line of questioning that followed.
"Basil, the blokey nudge, the dreadful follow-up question, the assumption that this was in any way an acceptable line to pursue or a conversation to be held on prime time television," she told Footy Classified.
"Why on earth did the editors leave it in? Basil, why did you let them? Were you all so desperate for a 'gotcha' moment in the story of a fallen hero who is desperately seeking relevance but (is) completely lacking clarity and an inability to explain how or why all this happened?
"It was so tasteless. Every woman watching that, and certainly most clear-minded young men and older men would have been horrified."
Fellow panelist and AFL great Kane Cornes also slammed the documentary.
Cornes played against Cousins and said he admired their battles on the field.
Despite advising his kids to watch the documentary to show the effects of drugs, he felt the title of the segment ‘Coming Clean’ was misleading.
"The title Coming Clean was misleading I thought because clearly Ben Cousins isn't clean and the place that he should be is not doing a documentary, it's in rehab,” he said.
Charity slams ‘exploitative’ interview
Charity CEO Whan called for the network to apologise after the ‘exploitative’ interview.
Whan is the founder and CEO Sober in the Country, a charity working to help initiatives for those struggling with alcohol abuse in regional areas, and has documented her life as a former addict and specifically recovered alcoholic.
In her charity blog, Whan demanded an apology from Channel 7 for an “exploitative” interview on a “fragile” human being.
“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,” she wrote.
“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.’”