Comedian Asks Breastfeeding Mom To Leave His Show

Comedian Asks Breastfeeding Mom To Leave His Show


One of the crappiest things about the patriarchy is that the mere act of feeding your baby just as humans have fed their babies for thousands of years is too often seen as inappropriate, improper, or even sexual. In recent years, breastfeeding moms have been called out in airplanes, in parks, at the beach, and even in their own homes for doing something that is perfectly legal in all 50 states.

Now, a kind of notable comedian is under scrutiny after he asked a breastfeeding mother to leave his show because he thought it was distracting.

Arj Baker, who is probably best known for a supporting role he played in Flight of the Conchords, was performing stand-up in Melbourne, Australia, when he heard a gurgling baby noise. He spoke to the mother briefly and made some jokes before continuing on. But the next time it happened, things heated up.

Mom Trish Faranda, who has seen Barker perform before, brought her 7-month-old baby Clara to the show. She sat in an aisle seat in case the baby got fussy, and then proceeded to try and enjoy the show, she told radio station 3AW Melbourne.

“So, I was sitting there, and she gurgled a bit,” Faranda explained. “It was probably the equivalent if someone was coughing. At the end of this little skit he did of a little baby in the room, he sort of said, ‘I speak baby, and she said, “Take me outside.”’ And at that point, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think he was joking about that,’” Faranda said.

Things escalated further.

“I was actually breastfeeding while he came and stood in front of me, and then he was basically telling me to leave,” she said. “People were laughing, so I was like, ‘I don’t think he’s joking, but everyone else seems to think he’s joking.’ So, I said to him, ‘Do you actually want me to leave?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I do.’”

About 10 to 12 people walked out with her, in solidarity, she says. At the same time, other audience members were jeering at her as she left.

“I felt humiliated,” she said.

Barker posted an explanation on Instagram on Monday telling his side.

He explained that he didn’t know she was breastfeeding and that the baby noises were distracting his audience of 700 — and that there was a 15+ age limit that should have prevented the baby being at the show in the first place.

“I support public breastfeeding, as it’s perfectly natural,” he added.

In the comments though, some people were not buying his long explanation.

“He’s missing the point again,” one woman commented. “It’s not about asking the baby to leave. You actively let the room scream at a woman very aggressively to get the f*ck out. And then you made jokes about how you loved the power. We are ACTIVELY calling on men to do better to say more and you RELISHED in this moment.”

“Fair call Arj. I was at the show and I understand your point of view,” another said. “What disturbed me was the calling out and heckling of the mother by other (male) members of the audience who were being verbally abusive and intimidating. It felt wrong that you didn’t address that. By not doing so it felt you were condoning it. It made me feel quite uncomfortable.”

Another person added that he seemed to lack an understanding of Australian culture, where babies are more accepted in public.

“Let’s not forget this is Australia where it’s okay and normal to take your kids and babies to pubs,” one person explained. “I’ve taken my babies to comedy shows in the opera house many times and never been judged or asked to leave.”

“Babies belong in public, mothers belong in public, and people who cannot tolerate a tad bit of baby sounds need to get a grip,” another said. “Babies are pure joy. You could have handled the situation with the grace and humility of a grown man and instead encouraged your audience to heckle this woman-honestly this is peak mediocre male behavior and such a great example of how little society values what matters the most.”

It sounds like even if the baby was making more noise than warranted, Barker could have handled the situation a lot better than he did. And now he’s in the headlines for it.



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