Simon Hunt, sometimes known as Pauline Pantsdown, is an Australian satirist and Australian Senate candidate who parodied Pauline Hanson, a controversial member of federal parliament, in 1997 and 2016. His birth name was Simon Hunt, but he changed his name by deed poll so that he would appear on the electoral ballot as "Pauline Pantsdown"; he later changed back to "Simon Hunt". He is the son of David Hunt, a retired Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
As Pantsdown, he is a drag queen whose taste in fashion parodies Hanson's, and is best known for the songs "Backdoor Man" and "I Don't Like It". The song "Backdoor Man" was a huge hit on the youth radio network Triple J after its release in 1997, being played almost hourly due to a massive number of requests, making it into the 1997 Hottest 100 list at number 5. However, less than a week after its release, Hanson obtained a court injunction against the song, claiming it was defamatory. In September 2004, after Hanson launched a campaign for the Australian Senate, the ABC was reported to be planning a challenge to the injunction. However, after public criticism from Hanson, the ABC backed down.
Early life and activism
Born in Sydney, Hunt began playing in bands when he was 12 years old.
Prior to parodying Hanson, Hunt had successfully lobbied the Office of Film and Literature Classification to remove homosexuality from its list of "adult themes", and produced a parody track collage of Fred Nile's voice.
Hunt is currently a head lecturer at the University of New South Wales.
The resulting controversy resulted in Pauline Pantsdown making an appearance at the 1998 Homebake live music festival, complete with apparently gay half-naked Asian dancers. He was booed and pelted with objects and later claimed "Homophobia is alive and well in Sydney".
- "Backdoor Man" was originally conceived of as a lipsynch performance by Hunt for performance at a dance party. Another organiser of the party gave a recording of the song to the ABC to promote the dance party, and as a result, "Backdoor Man" became the most-requested song on Triple J over a period of 11 days. "Backdoor Man" consists of a series of samples of Hanson's speeches stuck together to form sentences such as "I'm a backdoor man. I'm homosexual. I'm very proud of it", and "I'm a backdoor man for the Ku Klux Klan with very horrendous plans. I'm a very caring potato", parodying Hanson's conservative politics. Hanson vehemently condemned the track, claiming that the song portrayed her as a prostitute and a transsexual.
A 23-second sample of Pauline Pantsdown's "Backdoor Man"
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- After the injunction over "Backdoor Man", Pantsdown released the follow-up single "I Don't Like It" in response. Once again the song used segments of Hanson's voice to parody her, this time with equally ridiculous but less personal lyrics such as "Why can't my blood be coloured white? I should talk to some medical doctors; coloured blood is just not right". Once again the song was a hit on Triple J and peaked in the ARIA Charts at number 10 during the 1998 federal election campaign. "I Don't Like It" was nominated for Best Comedy Release at the 1999 ARIA Awards.
- In 2004, on the Rock Against Howard compilation, Hunt released the song "I'm Sorry" under the pseudonym Little Johnny, which had appeared as a download on his website earlier in 2000 with a video. This song used the same techniques to parody John Howard's refusal to apologise to the Aboriginal people of Australia over the Stolen Generations.
Hunt changed his name by deed poll so that he would appear on the electoral ballot for the 1998 senate elections as "Pauline Pantsdown"; he later changed back to "Simon Hunt". On the night of the federal election, Pantsdown performed at the Mardi Gras Sleaze Ball, and a Pauline Hanson Mardi Gras float was exploded.
Pantsdown performed a remixed version of "I Don't Like It" at the 2011 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Party during Bob Downe's 'Retro-Gras' DJ set just days before Hanson announced her candidacy in the 2011 NSW state election. Pantsdown also performed a remixed version of "I Don't Like It" on Channel Seven's The Morning Show on 22 May 2012. Nearing the end of the performance, Hunt undid a rainbow-coloured button-up shirt and revealed a T-shirt with the slogan "ABBOTT is INSIDE me" written on it, with a caricature of Tony Abbott's head beneath it. In an interview following his performance, he claimed that he was partly inspired by the "hurt and pain" that, in particular, the communities Hanson targeted at the time felt, and "wanted to give them an opportunity to laugh back". Kylie Gillies also noted that Hunt now lectures at a university (Media Arts, at the University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts, or COFA).
Hunt also campaigned against opera singer Tamar Iveri, who was released from a performance of Othello after making homophobic comments on social media. After Hanson won a place in the senate in 2016, Hunt considered a return as Pantsdown.
- Marr, David (12 May 2003). "Defamation joke". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 5 February 2010.
- Hanson stung by the peril of Pauline, by Robert Milliken, at the Independent; published 3 October 1998. Retrieved 11 July 2014
- "Supreme Court Library Queensland". sclqld.org.au.
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/30/i-dont-like-it-the-pauline-pantsdown-story/ (~1.00 timestamp in the video)
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/30/i-dont-like-it-the-pauline-pantsdown-story/ (~1.59 timestamp in the video)
- Johnson, Bruce (January 2003). "Two Paulines, Two Nations: An Australian Case Study in the Intersection of Popular Music and Politics". Popular Music and Society. 26 (1): 53–72. doi:10.1080/0300776032000076397.
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/30/i-dont-like-it-the-pauline-pantsdown-story/ (~4.04 timestamp in the video)
- "Albums by Pauline Pantsdown: Discography, songs, biography, and listening guide – Rate Your Music". rateyourmusic.com.
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/30/i-dont-like-it-the-pauline-pantsdown-story/ (~9.10 timestamp in the video)
- "Pauline Pantsdown on making a comeback and the value of political satire". Green Left Weekly. September 15, 2016. Archived from the original on January 26, 2018.
- The Unofficial Pauline Pantsdown Fan Club (archived)
- "Backdoor Man" MP3
- ABC television news story on the "Backdoor Man" lawsuit – contains video footage of Ms Hanson and Ms Pantsdown outside the Supreme Court of Queensland