Celebrated Australian gardener and former host of the Nine Network's Burke's Backyard, Don Burke has been accused of indecent assault, bullying and sexual harassment by more than 50 people.
Eight-time Olympic medalist Susie O’Neill has told the The Sydney Morning Herald that she endured "crude and belittling" comments from Don Burke during an interview at her home in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Burke apparently looked at a painting of a flower in her home and asked O’Neill, "Is your c--- as big as that?"
Shocking as this may seem, Susie O’Neill is not the only one who has come forward with such claims.
The Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC have shared new claims from ex-coworkers of the polarising TV personality and gardening guru, accusing him of being a "psychotic bully", a "misogynist" and a "sexual predator".
Don Burke, now aged 70, was the host of the hugely successful Burke's Backyard program and was devastated in 2004 when the show they nurtured for over 17 years was axed from the Nine Network.
Louise Langdon, a former researcher, has told the Sydney Morning Herald she was ongoingly humiliated by Burke's harassment.
Langdon was 27 when she worked with the former TV host, and her accusations of inappropriate behaviour from Burke is long, including at one point trying to remove her top and another using his foot to check the tone of her backside.
A fellow research who worked with Burke at the same time as Langdon agrees with the claims and adds, "I loathed him, he was just a pig. He was lecherous and sinister."
Both have also accused Burke of groping their breasts.
The ABC reports that these statements have been supported on the record by two former Channel Nine executives, with one saying:
"Don Burke was a disgrace because of his behaviour internally and externally. This precluded him from ever becoming a major star."
An ex-production crew member of Burke's Backyard added, "he would often have women in tears. He used to take great delight in it. It was like a sport to him."
Don Burke made a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday absolutely denying the accusations, explaining they come from former employees who “still bear a strong grudge against me.”
"The bitter irony is that I have had a life-long opposition to sexism and misogyny, Burke's Backyard was a lone bastion of anti-misogyny from its inception in 1987."
More recently Burke has said he suffers from Asperger's syndrome, which he admits can make him difficult to work with.
Burke has reportedly made contact with a top defamation lawyer about the allegations.