Councillor and former Footy Show star Allan Robinson has been forced to apologise publicly for a series of homophobic slurs he made last year in relation to Newcastle's deputy lord mayor.
Cr Declan Clausen, who is gay, took Cr Robinson to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board in October last year after the former jockey used a homophobic epithet in the council chamber then made other offensive comments in subsequent media interviews.
The pair reached a settlement last week which required Cr Robinson to apologise in an advertisement in the Newcastle Herald and sign a legal undertaking not to make offensive or derogatory comments about Cr Clausen or other councillors.
The apology, which appears on page five of today's paper, says: "I, Cr Allan Robinson, wish to apologise to Cr Declan Clausen - Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle - for a series of incidents over a number of months in which I used language and actions in formal council meetings and in the media that were homophobic, discriminatory and disrespectful. I apologise for the impact that this language and actions have caused Cr Clausen."
Cr Robinson also agreed in the settlement to "not make comments or statements concerning homosexuals that incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule on the ground of homosexuality in the course of my duties as a councillor".
The settlement did not include a monetary payment.
Cr Clausen said Cr Robinson's comments had been hurtful.
"I'm pleased that this now partially addresses a really significant issue that had caused a lot of concern and alarm both for myself and the broader LGBTI community in Newcastle," he said.
"Cr Robinson's comments over a series of months were totally and utterly unacceptable."
He said he was disappointed that Cr Robinson's colleagues in the Newcastle Independents alliance had not publicly condemned his behaviour.
"But I'm pleased that Cr Robinson has now apologised for his actions and entered into an undertaking to prevent this from reoccurring to me or to anybody."
Law firm Maurice Blackburn took on Cr Clausen's case pro bono, filing a complaint under two sections of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Cr Robinson referred to Cr Clausen as a "p--f" in an interview with the Newcastle Herald in July last year while being questioned about his use of a homophobic slur in the council chamber.
"I have no problems with p--fs. I have one work for me and I'm very good friends with three p--fs who I'm proud to say they are my friends," he said in an email.
In a subsequent interview with The Guardian website, Cr Robinson denied the comments were offensive.
"Why should it be offensive?" he said.
"If you're a f---ing p--f, you're a p--f."
Gay rugby league star and actor Ian Roberts publicly slammed Cr Robinson for his "sickening" attitude.
The United Services Union lodged a code-of-conduct complaint which is now being investigated by the Office of Local Government.
Maurice Blackburn senior associate Mia Pantechis said on Friday that Cr Robinson's comments had "no place in Australia".
"The comments were degrading and conveyed an intense sense of detestation and ridicule that humiliated Mr Clausen," she said.
"Mr Robinson let down the Newcastle community he was elected to represent and misused his public position, so I'm glad he has apologised and hope he now understands the harm and offence he caused."
Cr Robinson also attracted criticism after he said during a debate involving two female councillors in July 2019 that "some people have got more hide than Jessie the elephant and look like that".
He was the subject of an internal investigation in 2015 after referring to then councillor Stephanie Posniak as "beefcake" in a council meeting.
The Newcastle Herald approached Cr Robinson for comment.
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