Koch says topless bathers okay - but keep it out of sight

David Koch confronts breastfeeding advocates (centre) Victoria Brookman from Medowbank with Bobby (18 months). (AAP Image/Damian Shaw)
David Koch confronts breastfeeding advocates (centre) Victoria Brookman from Medowbank with Bobby (18 months). (AAP Image/Damian Shaw)

DAVID Koch has apologised to those offended by his breastfeeding remark, while adding he does not 'mind women who sunbake topless.'

"When you're at a public swimming pool and you pull your top down it does show a lot of flesh," Koch told a breastfeeding mum during a debate on Sunrise on Monday morning.

"I don't mind if women sunbake topless as long as they don't do it between the flags in a high traffic area."

Breastfeeding mother Amy Ahearn was a guest on the show.

She said: "I think your comment was well-intentioned but by saying women should cover up is like saying we should be ashamed."

"I just want to see public feeding normalised. It should not be harder''

 "I apologise if you feel that way,'' Koch responded.

Ms Ahearn said women should not have to hide under a blanket or go to the toilets to feed their children.

She said in her case, she could not feed her daughter under a blanket as she would just pull it off.

About 100 breastfeeding mums were in a 'nurse in' protest against Sunrise presenter David Koch after he suggested mums should not feed in high traffic areas.

"It's important for women to be aware of their environment," he said.

Koch was asked whether he would take back his comments, but said he would not, saying everyone was entitled to have an opinion.

He admitted one of his daughters 'tore strips off him'' for his comments while the other agreed that women should respect the environment they were in.

Koch said he believed women should not breastfeed in high traffic areas just as topless sunbathers should not do so between the flags.

"I don't mind if women sunbathe topless but out of respect for others I hope they would not do it between the flags in high traffic areas... where families are around.''

Earlier, Samantha Armytage and David Koch were presenting on a blank backdrop instead of their usual live window in Sydney possibly to avoid protest scenes.

A Seven spokeswoman said the station had security measures in place and police on standby to deal with protesting women, many of whom plan to feed their babies.

The Daily reported yesterday that  hundreds of breastfeeding mothers were expected to converge outside the Sydney studio.

The 'Sunrise Nurse-In' event has been created on Facebook to urge nursing mothers to take a stand against his 'unfair view'.

Koch said it thought it was 'fair enough' to ask the mum to be more discrete - to 'go up on the grass or something like that'.

"That's a high traffic area on the side of the pool in the middle of summer on a hot day.''

Mr Koch came under fire after expressing his views on breastfeeding on Friday's program.

The morning program was airing a segment about Bribie Island mum Liana Webster who had spoken out against breastfeeding discrimination after being told to cover up or leave Bribie Island Aquatic Centre earlier in the week.

Ms Webster spoke to Sunrise with Morayfield Mums owner Harmonie Perry.

Mr Koch said it was "fair enough" for people to ask breastfeeding mums to be a bit more discreet.


He later took to his Twitter account in an attempt to clear the air.

"For those who obviously didn't see @sunriseon7 & are getting my comments 2nd & 3rd hand I did NOT say women shouldn't breast feed in public," he wrote.

"Women should be able to breast feed in public. I have 2 breast feeding daughters at the moment."

"But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect breast feeding in public is done discreetly. I think that's just a common courtesy to others."

The Facebook group says it is not a hate campaign against Mr Koch, but rather an educational exercise.

Are David Koch's views on breastfeeding "unfair"?

This poll ended on 29 January 2013.

Yes - 85%

No - 13%

I didn't see his comments - 1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  breastfeeding david koch editors picks

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