Comedian Arj Barker under fire for kicking out breastfeeding mother, baby from Melbourne show, Latest Others News - The New Paper

Comedian Arj Barker under fire for kicking out breastfeeding mother, baby from Melbourne show

Popular American comedian Arj Barker has come under fire for asking a mother to leave his Melbourne show on April 20 while she was breastfeeding her baby, according to Australian media.

The 49-year-old comedian was performing to a 700-strong crowd at Athenaeum Theatre when the baby ruined his train of thought, ABC News reported.

The mother, Ms Trish Faranda, said she felt humiliated when Barker asked her to leave, adding that her seven-month-old baby “gurgled a little bit” but was not crying or screaming.

When they left the venue, eight people in the audience walked out in solidarity.

Ms Faranda told Australia radio show 3AW: “You kind of lose yourself a little bit when you have kids. I was trying to get back to enjoying something that I enjoyed before kids.”

The incident has sparked a debate on social media, with users divided on who was at fault.

An X user wrote: “Comedy is a rehearsed monologue that requires silence...The baby was crying (and) interrupting the monologue. The correct etiquette would be to not disrupt a performer hundreds (of people) paid to see.”

Another said: “Arj Barker did the right thing. What imbecile of a mother takes a baby to a comedy show and breastfeeds anyway?”

But some criticised Barker’s actions.

A netizen wrote on X: “A woman has purchased a ticket for a night out with her sister and friend to laugh and enjoy herself and you badger her and encourage her to leave and get a refund.”

Australian politician Ellen Sandell asked the comedian to apologise to Ms Faranda, adding that it is already “hard enough for new mums to participate in society with all the barriers”.

A breastfeeding mother is literally attached to her baby most of the time, she wrote on X.

“If you don’t allow babies in public places, you’re actually saying women and mums aren’t allowed in those places,” she said.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Barker stated that his show was for those aged 15 years and above, and that the baby was disrupting his performance.

“Had the show policy been adhered to, this situation would not have occurred,” he said.

“I politely told her the baby couldn’t stay. She thought I was kidding, which made the exchange a bit awkward.”

Barker has since offered the woman a refund for the ticket.

The show organiser, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, said that babies in arms are generally allowed in its shows.

A spokesperson said: “We do ask people to sit at the back with their child so they can quickly and easily leave if the baby gets noisy, so as not to disturb the artist and other patrons.”