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Breastfeeding mum recounts 'humiliation' as Flight of the Conchords star kicked her out of gig

Breastfeeding mum recounts 'humiliation' as Flight of the Conchords star kicked her out of gig

Other audience members reporedly booed her as she walked out.
23 April 2024 12:50PM

An Australian mother has said she felt "unwanted" and embarrassed after a US comedian kicked her out of his set while she was breastfeeding. 

Trish Faranda brought her seven-month-old daughter to Arj Barker’s set at Melbourne’s Athenaeum theatre on Saturday night. Trish told 9News that her little one did start making some gurgling noises during the show, but she breastfed the baby, who quickly quietened down.

That wasn't good enough for Arj, who stopped the show to address the situation, ultimately kicking them out.

“The jist of it was we were interrupting his rhythm and that we should basically leave,” Trish told 9News.  “It wasn’t fun, to be honest. I was breastfeeding at the time so I already felt very vulnerable. It was humiliating.”

Online, the reactions are split - some say a crying baby should always be taken out of a theatre, but both Arj and Trish have been clear there wasn’t crying involved. In an Instagram statement, he said the baby was "not crying, but 'talking', as they do". 

Some people booed the mum out, and one witness even said people were yelling: “F off”. Others left the theatre in solidarity with Trish. 

“Nobody wants to feel unwanted and when you’re getting basically booed out of a place, you’re definitely feeling unwanted,” she said. 

“Other people had walked out with us, and that was really overwhelming and that sort of brought me to tears in the end because I just thought it was so nice to have that support.”

Arj, who starred as Dave in the famous NZ comedy 'Flight Of The Conchords', stands by his decision, which he said he made for the audience’s sake. He argued that comedy routines need to flow, things like silences are important, and the baby was interrupting these moments with random noises.

"It's a theatrical show and it wasn't about me,” he told Today. “It was about the audience being able to have the immersion to enjoy the show and enjoy the rhythm and the pauses and the timing," he said.

He claims he is not a baby-hater, and didn’t even know Trish was breastfeeding her daughter. 

"All I could see was a woman likely holding a baby - the breastfeeding was never part of it. If it were the father, I would have acted the exact same way. It had to do with the baby making noise."

"If you're trying to watch something and there's a noise over here, or a phone rings over there, it takes you out of it. That's the only reason I said the baby's going to disrupt the show. It wasn't anything to do with me not being able to perform, it was on behalf of the audience.”

Hear who the More FM Breakfast Club are siding with below:

Another wrinkle in the debacle: Tickets to the show were aged 15+, but, as Stuff reports, the theatre normally lets babies in their mother's arms into shows. However, they must be prepared to leave if the baby becomes a distraction. 

Trish admitted she had been nervous about going to the gig with a young baby, but wanted to "feel like herself again". She's sworn off going to an Arj Barker show ever again - too right! - but we hope she and her beautiful bubba feel safe and welcomed at the next event.