EXCLUSIVE: Controversial media personality, Clementine Ford, has been in the middle of a long defamation case launched against her by comedian, Kieran Butler, who she had suggested was a rape sympathiser as well as an enabler of women being killed just days after his close friend was raped and murdered in a crime that shocked Australia.
Firebrand feminist author and columnist, Clementine Ford, has been quietly covering up a major fuck-up for over a year and has even had the gall to enlist a now-former friend to ask other writers to pitch in to cover undisclosed “legal costs” related to a defamation case involving a stand-up comedian.
Ford has been in the middle of an 18-month defamation battle launched against her by Melbourne-based comedian, Kieran Butler, after she insinuated he was a rape sympathiser as well as an enabler of women being killed, just a couple of days after a close friend of his was brutally raped and murdered.
Butler was a friend of fellow stand-up comic Eurydice Dixon who was raped and murdered in June 2018 by Jaymes Todd in a crime that shocked Melbourne and the nation.
Not long after Ms Dixon’s murder, Ford posted a comment on her personal Twitter page alleging Butler was trying to ‘cash in’ on his close friend’s murder, and that he was a misogynist who should not be speaking out. Ford has since deleted the tweet in question. True Crime News Weekly has been informed she did so after Fairfax editors were made aware of it.
RELATED: LIFE OF COMEDY ENDS IN HORROR TRAGEDY: The murder of Eurydice Dixon & the problem of violent men
Following the murder of his friend, Butler had told The Age that Ms Dixon was a “staunch feminist” who however “loved to poke fun at her own values for a well-researched laugh”.
“I couldn’t get my head around how she could stand on stage even when the crowd didn’t get her humour. It didn’t shake her, she could stand tall against that,” Mr Butler told the media soon after her murder.
“You just don’t get sensibility like that in someone so young because at 22 years old most don’t have enough to say, but she did.”
The animosity between Ford and Butler runs back almost a decade after the self-admitted “contrarian” satirist hosted a comedy night in November 2012 which was held to debate whether rape jokes could ever be funny.
In 2015, Ford contributed a piece to Destroying the Joint in which she took aim at Butler and his supposed misogyny and support for rape culture. The piece, which is still available online, was also part of the defamation proceedings with Ford alleged to have included a number of falsities in it.
In 2014, Ford publicly commented how it was “gross” that a woman had to be in the same room as Butler in reaction to an episode of SBS talk show Insight.
@gen_stewart had to be in a room with both Tim Wilson AND Kieran Butler. #insightsbs,” Ford tweeted in April 2014.
The episode of Insight featured Butler admitting how he was stupid not to have included a female on the panel for the controversial comedy debate he helped host in 2012.
It has been alleged to True Crime News Weekly that Ford was forced to leave her high-profile columnist gig with Fairfax (now Nine) early last year in January 2019 after the defamation proceedings were launched against her.
At the time, Ford publicly claimed she was leaving Fairfax due to the company “moving in a direction she couldn’t stomach”.
“I felt the new editor had values and a vision that was incompatible with mine,” Ford told The Guardian in February 2019.
“The words I heard were ‘slick, clean and corporate’. I did consider leaving in September [when Ford was apparently reprimanded by bosses over a tweet calling Prime Minister Scott Morrison a “fucking disgrace”] but as a freelancer and primary earner for my family I don’t have the luxury of quitting a job with nothing to go to.”
According to the same Guardian article, Ford claimed she was not heavily edited in her columns and that nothing specific had recently occurred but she felt “heavily watched” because her tweets were being monitored.
“It’s a toxic mess there right now,” Ford told The Guardian.
One source has told True Crime News Weekly that prior to her sudden departure Ford’s articles for Fairfax were receiving a high amount of views.
“Why would she suddenly stop posting? She was forced to step down due to legal proceedings against her, after being sued by comedian Kieran Butler,” the source claimed.
Another source meanwhile informed True Crime News Weekly that Ford had enlisted a now-former friend to help solicit donations from fellow writers for undisclosed “legal costs” without explaining details about the actual defamation case.
True Crime News Weekly has previously reported on allegations of plagiarism by Ford directed at her by author and writer, Ruby Hamad, who was a longtime colleague at Fairfax.
It is believed Ford has enlisted high-profile law firm Maurice Blackburn to represent her in the defamation case.
When contacted by phone, Ford claimed to True Crime News Weekly the defamation case was a “non-story” and she would not be providing a response to any of our queries.
Butler was unavailable to comment when approached by True Crime News Weekly.
The case is yet to be settled and is currently ongoing.
I wonder if Ms Ford has any idea what it’s like to tell the truth.
Sounds like she made a mistake. If she loses the case she will pay a price. I don’t see the need to pile on her. She is relentlessly trolled and threatened by men who can’t handle any kind of criticism.
She’s a shocker Stuart, who from what I’ve seen on her twitter page, gives out much more than she receives. I have nothing against feminists, more power to them for waging the war for equality, but C. Ford just shows the ugly side of feminism, and undoes the good work done by the majority of feminists.
You may not agree with her opinions but she has the right to say them without graphic threats of violence against her which she receives pretty much constantly. You only need to see some of the sick people on-line telling her to put a gun in her mouth and making sure she gets trolled and called a paedophile which actually harms people who are trying to uncover real paedophilia. The only reason so-called more reasonable feminists are able to exist is because most of the more extreme abuse is directed at people like Clementine. If people don’t agree with her views, fight her on that, not her personally.
A complicated situation.
First, if Ms. Ford had apologised reasonably promptly, it would have stopped the defamation case.
Just as we should perhaps not “pile on” her, it seems to me she was “piling on” Mr. Butler. Mr. Butler may have made mistakes worth recognising. At the same time, I can see his comments about Eurydice Dixon as being a genuine attempt to recognise the worth of a friend who has passed away, who has been murdered. It does seem problematic, to me, of Ms. Ford reading Mr. Butler’s mind and putting out the most negative interpretation possible.
Second, Ms. Ford has been unfairly attacked and trolled. That is sad it happened. It is sad when it happens to anyone. I’m not sure, however, how far that should go towards forgiving her own behaviour.
Third, I can imagine past targets of Ms. Ford’s analysis claiming “this is not news”, and I’m sure she would have maintained her position. I think it is problematic for her to claim something is not news – it would never have been for the people she appraised to decide this. It is something for others to decide – not her – whether that it is fair or unfair. I know I’ve been subject to unfair media scrutiny in the past, and if you’ve been the recipient of it, you can but wonder at any journalist resenting it.
I had no idea who Butler was until I saw him posting creepy and dubious comments on Bettina Arndt’s page. That is why I was shocked when he attached himself to Dixon’s murder. He obviously hasn’t done too well to make a name for himself as a comedian.
Dixon’s father seems to take Butler’s feelings as genuine:
I would be curious to know more about Butler’s comments on Bettina Arndt’s page.
She inherited her idiocy from her mom (Cybill Shepherd).
I think we’re talking about different Clementine Fords – one in Australia, one in the US:
OK, thank you for the correction!
It seems a bit rich for a comedian who pushes people’s buttons to launch a defamation case against someone else for taking things too far.
Almost seems like he actually is trying to cash in…