‘Treasured’ organisation backed after ‘insensitive’ gag
The Queensland arm of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) issued a moving statement today following a joke made by Hit Network presenters Cliffo and Gabi yesterday morning.
The joke, which poked fun at the national organisation which has helped more than a quarter of a million members since launching in 1964, saw host Gabi Elgood prank her pregnant friend by giving her a false ABA membership.
"Last week we were talking about the best present you could get as a first time parent," she said.
"And the reason we were talking about this was because I was heading off to a baby shower and I wanted to know a great practical gift to give to a mother-to-be.... I've never been a mother so I wanted to know, like, what to give her."
The presenter said the show received some "amazing suggestions" including one from a listener who recommended an Australian Breastfeeding Association membership.
"I actually had a lot of people say 'wow, yes, what a great gift, some women really need that support'.
"However, the girl... who was having the baby shower also heard that and she came to me that same day and said 'don't you dare buy me a membership to the association'.
"I went online and the membership is actually a little bit expensive.
"So what I did was dummy up a membership letter with the letterhead and all the official looking bits and pieces...and I went along to the baby shower on the weekend and I handed over the fake membership to the breastfeeding association."
Listeners heard as the prank gift was presented to the mum-to-be, who commented "I don't need sh*t presents" which was met by a chorus of "horrible cackling" as one mum who heard the gag described.
The mother had been listening to the program as it aired in the Darling Downs yesterday morning and said she did "not see any humour in that".
"My feeling was that it was really, really, bad."
The Queensland arm of the organisation took to Facebook today to express their disappointment in the stunt.
"We were saddened to hear that a radio station saw fit to use ABA membership as the subject of a prank," it said in its post.
"The National Breastfeeding Helpline, which is free for everyone to use, receives over 80,000 calls a year, and the cost of running this is supported by Association members.
"It is deeply disappointing that anyone would make this very important service the brunt of a joke.
"To all the mums who have called us in the middle of the night, you are not a joke to us.
"To all the mums who have called us in tears because it's all overwhelming, you are not a joke to us.
"To all the dads who have called us when their partners can't, you are not a joke to us.
"To all the parents who were doing just fine but needed a confidence boost, you are not a joke to us.
"And most of all, to all our volunteers who donate time away from their own families to support those in need: we see you, we hear you, we value you. You are not a joke to us.
"As always, we are here for you, regardless of what insensitive media personalities choose to say."
The group, and its national counterpart which shared the post, was joined by un uprising of Facebook support from mothers who had been helped by the association - which provides support to breastfeeding mothers including a volunteer-run helpline, group meet-ups and online and printed resources.
"This was hands down my most treasured gift when I had my first baby.
"I have, and will continue to give this invaluable gift to expecting mothers," said one mum.
"You were there for me in the middle of the night when I was very nearly broken.
"Your advice saw me go on to feed the baby for nearly a year, successfully feed four babies, and how many friends I've given your advice to along the way.
"I proudly called on you in my darkest moments, I cried to a faceless stranger, when I couldn't say the words to my husband or my GP," said another mum.
The Hit Network has been contacted for comment. The Australian Breastfeeding Association declined to comment.
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Originally published as 'Treasured' organisation backed after 'insensitive' radio gag