Breastfeeding mum booted from comedy show accused of being 'entitled' in TV interview

Breastfeeding mum booted from comedy show accused of being 'entitled' in TV interview

Arj Barker (left) Trish Faranda to leave his Melbourne comedy show, sparking an online backlash

(@adelaidecomedy/Instagram/A Current Affair/9 News)

Opinion has turned on a breastfeeding mum who was ejected from a comedy show alongside her baby.

Trish Faranda brought her seven-month-old daughter to see Arj Barker in Melbourne last weekend, and said she felt “humiliated” when he asked her to leave.

In light of the outcry following the incident, Faranda was invited to appear on Australian TV show A Current Affair (ACA) on Monday to explain what had happened.

But as she relayed her version of events her baby grew unsettled and viewers struggled to hear what she, or host Ally Langdon, was saying.

Commentators were swift to complain about the disruption, with one writing on the ACA Facebook page: “This interview was an absolute train wreck. Ally ended it as soon as she could because that kid was uncontrollable. Imagine that at a comedy show.”

Another fumed: “I have kids and there is always a time [and] a place for little children. This mother is so entitled it’s unbelievable.”

While a third concluded: “The baby’s performance on A Current Affair says it all.”

Faranda's interview with 'A Current Affair' was interrupted by cries from her baby(A Current Affair/9 News)

Faranda, was accused of “distracting” Barker during his performance at the Athenaeum Theatre on Saturday night.

The mother-of-three was breastfeeding at the time but Barker later insisted this hadn’t been the issue. He stressed that the glare from the stage lights prevented him from seeing what she was doing.

Nevertheless, the fallout sparked a fierce debate online, with many – including Australian politician Ellen Sandell – arguing that mums have the right to a night out, and Faranda should have been left to enjoy the show in peace.

Recalling what happened, Faranda said her daughter was babbling when Barker noticed her.

“She started gurgling, babbling [...] but not for very long because then I just gave her a quick feed and she was quiet,” she told Langdon.

She said Barker then noticed the baby and made some lighthearted jokes before saying, ‘I speak baby and it said 'take me outside',’".

"Then [my daughter] had a bit of a whinge, she wasn't full-on crying ” Faranda said.

However, she continued: “[Barker] was sort of like, 'Oh no, it's really disruptive, you're interrupting my rhythm' ... then he threw back to the crowd and was basically trying to get their support to say 'get out'."

Faranda defended her right to go out as a mum(A Current Affair/9 News)

The baby then interrupted the ACA interview by crying loudly, but Faranda insisted she hadn’t been nearly as vocal during Barker’s set.

She said her baby’s gurgles had been “nothing louder than some coughing in the audience,” before stressing that she was checking other audience members’ reactions and concluded that “we weren’t really impacting anyone.”

She then questioned why babies should be barred from comedy shows.

“Why is it not a place for a baby?” she asked.

“If they’re not being disruptive, I don’t understand. Is it any different to a heckler, do they boot out hecklers if they say something? Comedians put up with a lot, don’t they? I don’t feel like we were anywhere near that level.”

In a separate interview with 3AW Radio on Monday morning, Faranda pointed out that she had intentionally booked seats near the front of the theatre, towards the side, so that she could make a quick exit if her baby got too noisy.

“I didn’t want to impact other people, people were out to have a good night,” she stressed.

She went on: "I think it's really sad that in society mums feel like they can't take their children places.”

Arj Barker has given his own TV interviews, standing by his decision to ask Faranda to leave(Today)

Meanwhile, despite calls for Barker to publicly apologise over the incident, he has refused to back down, insisting that he was simply trying to ensure a good night for all.

In a statement shared to Instagram he argued: “The show is strictly age 15+ as clearly stated on the ticket site. She had an infant with her. The baby was disrupting my performance.

“On behalf of the other 700 people who paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn’t stay. She thought I was kidding, which made the exchange a bit awkward.

“I felt bad about the whole situation and stated this on the night more than once. I offered her a refund. Theatre staff should not have seated a baby in my audience in the first place.”

Barker also spoke to 3AW in a bid to clear his name.

“(In that theatre) sound travels, you can hear the drop of a pin,” he told the broadcaster.

“It doesn’t take much to distract an audience, and I’ve worked on these jokes and there’s timing and there’s pauses, and it’s just not going to work with the baby.

He continued: “I made the decision, it wasn’t easy, it was really awkward for me. I said ‘I’m really sorry but the baby can’t stay’.”

Barker said he principally blamed the promoters for allowing Faranda to bring the child into the venue despite the clear age limit.

He also rubbished any suggestion that he’d been put off by her breastfeeding.

“I could just make out a woman holding a baby, I had zero idea if she was breastfeeding,” he said.

“Nor would that have been a factor, because I don’t have any problem with that.”

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