Comedian Defends Decision to Remove ‘Breastfeeding’ Mom and Baby From Show

Comedian Defends Decision to Remove ‘Breastfeeding’ Mom and Baby From Show
Credit: Instagram/arjbarker

At a recent performance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, comedian Arj Barker found himself at the center of controversy after he asked a mother and her baby to leave the show. The incident, which took place at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne, escalated quickly and led to a walkout by several audience members in solidarity with the mother, Trish Faranda.

Faranda, a mother of three, was reportedly breastfeeding her seven-month-old baby during the show when Barker requested they leave due to the disruption they were causing. This decision sparked a heated debate on social media and led to a walkout by approximately ten to twelve people, mostly women and mothers, who felt the comedian’s request was unjust. Faranda defended her actions by saying that her baby was not screaming but merely making soft baby noises, which she did not believe were disruptive.

In response to the backlash, Barker took to Instagram to defend his actions. He explained that his request for the mother and baby to leave was based solely on the audio disruption they were causing, which affected the performance for the rest of the audience. He emphasized that the incident had nothing to do with the act of breastfeeding, which he supports fully, but rather the noise level during his performance.

Barker also mentioned that he had offered Faranda a refund and expressed regret for any embarrassment the situation may have caused her family. He stressed that if the show’s policy had been adhered to, the uncomfortable situation could have been avoided. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, though not directly involved as Barker is independently produced, commented on the need for sensitivity and respect in interactions between performers and their audiences.

This incident raises questions about the accommodations and considerations that should be made for parents with infants in public and entertainment spaces, highlighting the ongoing debate about societal norms and expectations in such settings.