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Thu, 14 May, 2020

Tracy Grimshaw responds to “uppercut” comment after travel boss resigns

Tracy Grimshaw responds to “uppercut” comment after travel boss resigns

The CEO of the peak body for travel agents has resigned following widespread condemnation of his comments that A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw should “be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face”.

The chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Jayson Westbury, told members on Friday that the Nine presenter needed “to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face” over the show’s reporting of a travel industry refund scandal.

“I mean that virtually, of course. I wouldn’t want to invoke any violence on anyone,” Westbury said.

“But, I mean, some of the behaviour and some of the language that’s being used on that program is just outrageous.”

The comments, first reported by the Age and Sydney Morning Herald, were made during a webinar discussing coverage of the industry’s failure to refund customers.

On Wednesday, Westbury apologised for his “very poor choice of words”.

AFTA announced Westbury’s resignation on the same day “effective immediately”, saying his “inappropriate and unacceptable” comments were against the views of the industry.

“While Mr Westbury stressed that his comments should not be taken literally and has apologised publicly and to Ms Grimshaw, he has also acknowledged that the comments were inappropriate and unacceptable in any circumstances, as well as being at odds with the views of AFTA and its member companies and agencies,” AFTA said in a statement.

Grimshaw addressed the matter on the Nine program. “Jayson Westbury’s language was appalling and he’s paid the price for it,” she said on Wednesday night.

“As CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents he was supposed to help them navigate the devastating effects of this COVID-19 pandemic and somehow address the scathing criticism from customers who now couldn’t travel and couldn’t get refunds.

“Instead, he chose to shoot the messenger in a disturbing personal attack on me.”

Grimshaw also said Westbury’s behaviour was no longer acceptable today.

“I think he could have chosen better words, couldn’t he?” she told Melbourne radio host Neil Mitchell in an interview.

“It’s not the sort of language that flies these days.

“You can’t get away with that stuff. It’s bad behaviour; it’s bad language and you can’t talk that way about women. And the sooner blokes like Jayson Westbury realise that, the better.”