Comedian kicks breastfeeding mom out of show—here’s the whole story

Comedian Arj Barker made a lot of headlines after asking a breastfeeding mother and her baby to leave his show at the Athenaeum in Melbourne over the weekend. But it turns out, that isn’t the whole story.

On Monday, Barker released a statement on social media entitled, “BabyGate: Let’s Clear The Air,” saying the fact the woman was breastfeeding had nothing to do with why he asked her to leave. In actuality, he wrote, the show had an age restriction that required audience members to be 15 or older, and the woman should never have been allowed to be seated with her infant in the first place.

In his statement, he also wrote that as he started his set that night, he could hear the baby “talking” a few rows away from the stage. He said he made some jokes about hoping the baby wouldn’t disrupt the show and moved on, but when the infant “called out again,” he was “quite concerned” and decided to make a “difficult decision.”

“I then calmly informed the woman holding the baby that the baby couldn’t stay. I felt bad doing so and stated this at the time as well as several times during the remainder of the show,” Barker wrote. “As she was leaving, I offered for her to get a refund, as a gesture of good will.”

Barker went on to say that this was “a very tough call,” but he was thinking of the “other 700 or so audience members” who “deserved to see the show they had paid for, uninterrupted.”

He also pointed out that everyone who purchased a ticket received notice that the show was “strictly for audiences 15+.”

“For the record, I support public breastfeeding, as it’s perfectly natural,” Barker continued. “I’ve nothing against babies, in fact I was one once, for almost 2 years.”

The mom who was removed from the show has appeared on the Australian TV show A Current Affair and said she’s not upset about being asked to leave, but reminded the public that it’s “isolating” to be a mom, and also said the way Barker did it was “embarrassing.”

“Had he just nicely said, off the mic, ‘Do you mind leaving?’ I would’ve been gone and it wouldn’t have been an issue,” she said. “It was embarrassing, you know. People were yelling out. It’s not fun to walk out like that and I don’t think I deserved to walk out like that.”

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