Hamish McLachlan: Australian sports reporter compared to Chris Gayle after hugging female colleague live on-air

Channel Ten horse racing correspondent grabbed the former Miss Universe contestant and stand-in weather presenter while she was in the middle of a report

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The Independent Online

An Australian sports reporter has been criticised for hugging his female colleague live on air, drawing comparisons with cricketer Chris Gayle's controversial remarks to a female reporter during a pitch-side interview.

Channel Seven was inundated with complaints after reporter Hamish McLachlan wrapped his arms around his colleague, former Miss Universe contestant Monika Radulovic, during a broadcast. 

Ms Radulovic, who is a friend of Mr McLachlan and a guest presenter at the channel, laughed and immediately pushed him away saying “Professional please, my goodness”. 

The incident came just days after the Jamaican cricketer was fined AUS$10,000 (£4788) for attempting to flirt with Channel Ten sports reporter Mel McLaughlin while she was interviewing him after he scored 41 runs for Melbourne Renegades. 

As the journalist asked him about his innings he began to flirt with her saying “I just wanted to have an interview with you as well, that’s why I batted so well.”

“Your eyes are beautiful, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well. Don’t blush, baby." 

Ms McLaughlin brushed him off and her boss David Barham later told the local 3AW radio station she had been left “angry and upset” by the incident.

Hamish McLaclan was accused of sexism after ambushing the former Miss Universe contestant Monika Radulovic live on-air

Channel Seven received a barrage of criticism from viewers, with some pointing to perceived double standards over the reaction to the Gayle incident.

Another viewer, John Alexander, commented on the channel’s Facebook page “I'm confused! One minute you guys are discussing Chris Gayle's crappy behaviour and the next you have some horse racing bloke copping a feel of your weather presenter!”

Leanne Kingswell also wrote: “Please advise what actions are you taking to protect your female employees right to not be disrespected, demeaned, groped and/or sexually harassed both off and on-air”.

Mr McLachlan later apologised for the incident saying: “I understand people have made stuff of it on social media and if I’ve offended anyone at home I’m apologising for that absolutely.”

He also apologised to Ms Radulovic who said she had not “thought twice about it”.