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'Andrew, I'm sorry': ABC's Andrew Probyn becomes TikTok meme after coronavirus press conference

Stephanie Convery
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

It’s a strange new world, the era of the coronavirus pandemic: working from home is the new norm, toilet paper is a prized possession – and the ABC’s political editor, Andrew Probyn, has become a TikTok meme.

Users of the video-sharing platform – which is most popular with people under the age of 25 – became focused on Probyn after Scott Morrison chastised the journalist during a press conference on Sunday night.

The prime minister and Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, stood at the podium after meeting with the newly minted national cabinet to announce strict measures to halt the spread of coronavirus – including the closure of pubs, bars and clubs – and to attempt to clarify advice on whether kids should be sent to school.

Probyn, like many reporters in the room, had multiple questions but, after attempting to follow up with the chief medical officer on a point about social distancing, Morrison cut him off.

“Andrew, I’m sorry, you’ve had several questions,” the prime minister said. “Andrew, I’m sorry, Andrew. I know, but you don’t run the press conference, OK? So I’m going to go to other questions of members of the group. Katharine hasn’t had a question,” he said, referencing Guardian Australia’s political editor, Katharine Murphy.

“I’m happy to return to you but let’s just keep it civil. Katharine?”

The 15-second audio clip of Morrison giving the national broadcaster’s political editor a serve became the subject of TikTok’s bite-sized videos.

Some users took the traditional TikTok route of videoing themselves lipsyncing to Morrison’s admonishment.

Others used it as an opportunity to comment on Morrison’s relationship with the press, whose job it is to ask questions.

Then there were those who saw Probyn as the real hero of the story – even suggesting that he ought to take Morrison’s place.

In response to his colleagues sharing the videos on Twitter, Probyn said: “This is the only bit of their dad’s ‘work’ that my kids have taken real notice of … ever. Sad.”