UPDATE: There has been quite a stir over at Mamamia about this after Meshel Laurie posted this article (read it here). Many commenter’s seem to be hung up on the fact that he didn’t use his “opportunity” to apologise for his actions and that he acts as though he has done nothing wrong. Matthew actually said “It’s intolerable to harm a woman, it’s intolerable to harm your friends, it’s intolerable to harm yourself and I’ve done all those things”. While he never specifically came out with the words “I’m sorry”, it appears to me that he is VERY aware that what he did was wrong and here he is, admitting that he has done these things and that they are, in his words, intolerable. Now if you ask me, that is taking responsibility for his actions and admitting that he was at fault. I’ve said countless times below HE DOES NOT NEED TO APOLOGISE TO THE PUBLIC. He owes us nothing and I don’t understand why people feel that he does!
I have loved Matthew Newton for quite a few years now. This can be traced back to him starring as John Barton in Australian film Looking For Alibrandi. I thought he was fantastic and when his character commits suicide, I sob every time. I have always felt that Matthew is an incredible actor, writer and director.
Matthew’s personal problems over the past few years have made me incredibly sad, not just for Brooke Satchwell and Rachael Taylor, but for him as well, because he has obviously been battling with some pretty serious demons.
After shit went down with Rachael in August last year, I wasn’t very impressed that Bert and Patti Newton decided to do a television interview, I didn’t feel it was necessary. What I was interested in was hearing was what Matthew had to say for himself, but he didn’t owe that to the public. While I don’t normally watch A Current Affair (as many have said, it is entertainment, not journalism), I was very interested to watch Tracy Grimshaw‘s interview with him last night.
While I generally feel that Tracy is a great interviewer, I was not impressed with her interview with Matthew. I respected the fact that she asked the hard hitting questions, but some of them felt inappropriate and almost stupid.
He was asked if he felt he got off “too lightly” when charges of assault were dropped in 2006. Matthew responded with “I wasn’t treated. I wasn’t diagnosed at that point. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate”. When asking this, I felt like she was probing inappropriately for an apology. Matthew was ill, it doesn’t excuse his actions, but I felt that throughout the entire interview, there was no understanding of this.
He was then asked if he has spoken to Brooke since then and when he said he hadn’t, he was asked what he would say. I am glad that Matthew had the class to not launch into a long-winded public apology to Brooke. It wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss this as it would be a personal matter which he acknowledged.
When he was asked about drugs, there was an awkwardness to the question and the way it was posed. (For those who didn’t catch the interview, Matthew said drugs and alcohol weren’t ever really a problem for him, which is why rehab wasn’t ever effective).
What was an underlying theme for me throughout the interview was that Tracy was trying to get Matthew to apologise “to the people”. He doesn’t owe us, the public, anything! He hasn’t done anything to us personally and therefore, he does not need to apologise. In his mind, he probably doesn’t feel as though he needs to redeem himself as he is currently getting the correct treatment and is getting a better hold on his illness. As Matthew said “people will think what they think and I’m not here to prove anything”.
I felt that Tracy, like a lot of the general public, holds this stigma about mental illness, as she asked him questions about if he could definitively say that he would never have a relapse. I mean, what a stupid question! It’s like asking someone who has cancer and is in remission if they can promise the cancer won’t come back! They can’t answer that and mental illness is no different. I just felt as though there wasn’t any sympathy to Matthew’s condition.
While I feel he should personally apologise to all the people he has hurt, it almost seems ridiculous because he’s sick, why should he have to apologise? A child who has appendicitis wouldn’t apologise to their parents.
I was unsure as to how I felt that Matthew agreed to the interview (on A Current Affair of all places – I want it noted that I would NEVER watch the show normally) but as he said, he wants to make sure that others don’t go through what he went through and that they recognise the problem and start the proper treatment.
Overall, I felt that this interview could have been handled better.
On a side note, I am very pleased to hear that Matthew is getting the correct treatment and is starting to repair himself. I wish him nothing but the best for the future. While I would never condone domestic violence or violence of any kind, I’m glad that Matthew has owned up to his mistakes and appears to be making progress. But he doesn’t need to apologise to those he doesn’t know for actions that haven’t affected us.