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Comedian defends decision to kick 'breastfeeding' mom and baby out of show
Featured Image Credit: James D. Morgan/Getty Images / Instagram/@arjbarker

Comedian defends decision to kick 'breastfeeding' mom and baby out of show

A comedian who kicked a mom and her baby out of one of his shows has issued a defiant response

Comedian Arj Barker has issued a response after he was slammed for asking a mother and her baby to leave his show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Comedy shows are meant to be full of laughs and giggles, and that is usually the case.

However, all the fun and games ended during a comedy show at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne on Saturday (20 April).

US comedian Barker asked mother-of-three Trish Faranda and her seven-month-old baby - who she was allegedly breastfeeding - to leave the show due to them 'disrupting' his performance.

The act actually sparked a walkout in the theatre and triggered a very heated debate on social media.

Arj Barker asked a mother and her baby to leave during a recent show in Melbourne. (James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Arj Barker asked a mother and her baby to leave during a recent show in Melbourne. (James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Faranda has since spoken out, telling 3AW Radio that her baby 'wasn't screaming' and also hit back at critics who said she shouldn't have taken a young child as the show was 'strictly age 15+'.

“She wasn’t screaming, she was just being a baby, she gurgled a little bit, she had a bit of a whinge... nothing loud,” the mother said.

Faranda went on to say that she intentionally booked seats at the front of the theatre and to the side so she could make a quick dart to the exit if her baby got too rowdy.

“I didn’t want to impact other people, people were out to have a good night," she added.

Barker insisted on the mother leaving the theatre, which led to '10 or 12' other people - mostly women and mothers - walking out in solidarity.

She continued: "We booked two comedy shows, one was (David) Hughesy at the very beginning (of the Melbourne Comedy Festival).

"He heard her at his show and he did a skit about her and his own kid, and he moved on with his show like a true professional."

The comedian has defended his actions. (Instagram/@arjbarker)
The comedian has defended his actions. (Instagram/@arjbarker)

Barker has refused to back down on his actions though, and has today issued a statement on Instagram.

"On behalf of the other 700 people there who had paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn't stay," he said. "She thought I was kidding which made the exchange a bit awkward."

Barker did say he felt bad about the situation and offered Faranda a refund.

"It's unfortunate about any embarrassment it caused her or her family, but again, had the show policy been adhered to, this situation would not have occurred," he said.

He also elaborated how there have been reports that the mom was breastfeeding during the show, something he was not aware of due to him not actually being able to see her in the audience due to the bright lights.

"To suggest this had anything to do with my actions is blatantly false as I couldn't see well enough to know if she was or wasn't... nor would I care," he wrote.

"This was ALL to do with AUDIO disruption of my show, nothing more. For the record, I support public breastfeeding, as it's perfectly natural."

In a statement provided to ABC News, a Melbourne International Comedy Festival spokesperson said: "Arj is independently produced and at a venue not managed by the festival, however, any interaction between performers and their audiences requires sensitivity and respect.

"In our festival managed venues, babes in arms are generally allowed but we do ask people to sit up 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."

UNILAD has reached out to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Athenaeum Theatre for additional comment.

Topics: Parenting, News, Australia