Men defend a female bartender being sexually harassed at work

The moment patrons jump to the defence of a bartender to protect her from boss’ sexual harassment in revealing social experiment

  • Two actors – a male and a female – are playing the role of a bartender and boss
  • In SBS’ new series called ‘Is Australia Sexist?’ the pair roleplay harassment
  • A number of men in the bar stood up for the lone woman and helped her
  • Only one group of customers ignored the inappropriate behaviour and laugh 

Hospitality is one of the most notorious industries for sexual harassment, with alcohol often fuelling inappropriate behaviour. 

While 89 per cent of hospitality workers claimed they had been sexually harassed in a recent survey by SBS, 80 per cent of workers said they would stand up to the perpetrator if they saw it happening in the workplace. 

In a bid to uncover whether that’s an accurate statistic, SBS’ new series ‘Is Australia Sexist?’ placed two paid actors in the role of a female bartender, named Libby, on ‘her first day’ and a male boss helping her learn the ropes. 


SBS’ new series ‘Is Australia Sexist?’ placed two paid actors in the role of a female bartender, named Libby, on ‘her first day’ and a male boss helping her learn the ropes

The social experiment saw a number of men enter the establishment – some with a group of male friends and others with a female counterpart – and witness demeaning exchanges between boss and employee.

The male bartender’s opening line to a customer begins: ‘She’s a bit of a looker, I can’t keep my hands off her!’

Immediately the man he was speaking with questioned the behaviour – and the anxious look on employee Libby’s face – before stating: ‘Is he harassing you? Because you can deal with it’.


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The male bartender’s opening line to a customer begins: ‘She’s a bit of a looker, I can’t keep my hands off her!’

Other men intervene later in the social experiment by calling the manager an ‘a**e’, a ‘freaking imbecile’ and encourage Libby to ‘call a lawyer and put a civil claim in’

The acting manager continued his outbursts with another man by calling attention to Libby’s physical appearance again.

‘She’s a little cutie. Bit of a prawn, but rip off her head and she’s alright hey?’ He said, before trying to ‘fist bump’ the customer.

After walking away the man asked Libby if that was harassment.

Other men intervened later in the social experiment by calling the manager an ‘a**e’, a ‘freaking imbecile’ and encouraged Libby to ‘call a lawyer and put a civil claim in’.

‘She’s a little cutie. Bit of a prawn but rip off her head and she’s alright hey?’ He said, before trying to ‘fist bump’ the customer

One particularly unhappy customer even said: ‘If that was my daughter there I’d be f**king pissed at you’

Interestingly the social experiment mirrored the statistics entirely, and showed that most men would prevent sexual harassment in a work setting like this

One particularly unhappy customer even said: ‘If that was my daughter there I’d be f**king pissed at you’.

The only group of men who stood for the behaviour laughed along and said they would ‘hang around’ when the boss joked that Libby should remove her top to get more tips later in the evening. 

Interestingly the social experiment mirrored the statistics entirely, and showed that most men would prevent sexual harassment in a work setting like this.

Is Australia Sexist? aired on Tuesday December 4 at 8.40pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.  

For anonymous sexual assault support nationally contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

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