Controversial broadcaster Eddie McGuire says he was on "heavy duty" painkillers when he infamously compared Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes to King Kong.
McGuire suggested Goodes could star in King Kong the musical on his radio show in 2013, just days after the AFL player had been called an ape by a young girl during a match against Collingwood.
But in an interview with GQ magazine, McGuire has blamed the gaffe on the painkillers he was taking for a knee infection at the time.
McGuire said he believes he's still "pure of heart" on the issue of racism, and abhors any form of bigotry or discrimination.
"Did I lie awake over the Adam Goodes thing? Does it still rankle with me to this day? Absolutely," he told the magazine. "It burns me to the core that what I said would add any level of pain to Adam or the indigenous community."
McGuire also denied ever saying he wanted to "bone" broadcaster Jessica Rowe when he was in charge of Channel 9.
In 2006, McGuire was accused of saying he wanted to "bone" (meaning to sack) Rowe as the host of the Today show.
"I refute that I said ‘boned’. I may have said ‘burned’," he told GQ. "I know Jessica’s been saying how hurt she was by it and I’ve deliberately not wanted to pick the scab on this. She was the drive-by victim in all of this. She didn’t deserve any of it, and I feel deeply about that."
Last year, Rowe hit out at McGuire, saying he "made her life hell" when he was in charge of the network.
“To me, Eddie McGuire has form and I can talk very much from personal experience,” she said on Studio 10. “The way he has allegedly used language against me in the past and the way he has used language to describe Adam Goodes (is) highly, highly inappropriate and then to try and explain it away as ‘oh that was a brain snap or a brain freeze’ — no that is not on.”
Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Rob Stott at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.