On Tuesday the 28th of May 2019, three days after the body of Courtney Herron was found by police, The Sun Herald in Melbourne published a front cover with the headline ‘Party Twist’.
It trivialises a violent murder and is the absolute counter-point to the remarks made by Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius on Saturday.
It quickly erased the relief experienced upon hearing a senior police officer speak with sensitivity and sincerity around the need to push back against victim blaming.
Tarang Chawla, a Melbourne-based activist and Young Australian of the Year finalist, whose beloved sister Nikita was murdered by her former partner, took to social media to express his disbelief that the newspaper even considered this headline.
“I am speechless that the Herald Sun has decided that the hot take from the senseless killing of 25-year-old Courtney Herron is “PARTY TWIST”.
I am speechless that Courtney Herron leaving a ‘city gathering with her killer’ is somehow relevant. Or the bit about how his colleagues said he turned to drugs after a relationship breakdown.
The narrative is all being set up nicely on a platter for his barrister to use in court: “Your Honour, my client is the real victim here. He is jilted man, hurt by a modern day woman who destroyed his life by leaving him, he has no choice but to resort to drugs and in this pain has murdered another, for he is the true victim here.”
Give. Me. A. Break.
This headline and the article is a categorical joke that manages to downplay, trivialise and make light of multiple pressing issues facing Australia – men’s violence, homelessness, drug addiction and mental health.
There was no “PARTY TWIST”.
Going to a party and then getting killed by a man you meet there is NOT a ‘party twist’.”
I am speechless too.
The only slither of good news is that the public reaction to the cover mirrors Tarang’s.
— ish & chi (@ishandchi) May 27, 2019
This is appalling. How dare the herald sun trivialise and sensationalise this murder
— Catherine Knight (@catjknight94) May 27, 2019
“Party Twist” surely this is a sick joke?!?
— Jaryd Stobaus (@JStobaus) May 27, 2019
@theheraldsun you understand this headline makes men’s violence against women a joke? Do you understand how offensive this is to women? We finally had a policeman say it is men who need to change and then you go and print this?
— DworkinsDaughter (@DworkinsDaughte) May 27, 2019
It is disgraceful that any editor or sub-editor thought ‘Party Twist’ was even remotely appropriate for a headline about Courtney Herron. There is some comfort, however, in seeing that the overwhelming response is that of disgust and disbelief. There is nothing trivial or sensational about a woman being murdered. Ever. Full stop.