Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Little person set on fire by Aussie Rules player during wild end-of-season celebration

A entertainer was set on fire by an Australian Rules football player during an alcohol-fueled night to celebrate the end of the players' season.

Entertainer Blake Johnston —who happens to be a little person —  felt something scorching his backside and when he turned around saw thick smoke rising from his flammable costume.

Midfielder Clinton Jones held a barbecue lighter to Mr Johnston's costume when he was partying on what is traditionally known as "Mad Monday" — to celebrate the end of the Aussie rules football season — by setting him aflame.

Jones, of the St. Kilda Saints AFL team, Melbourne, was fined $3,000 in accordance with the AFL Players Code of Conduct and has now apologized for the incident on the annual celebratory night, which has become synonymous with giving the sport a bad name.

The AFL has tried to improve the image of the sport after repeated drunken incidents, but the initial reaction from a league executive was just as embarrassing.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has apologized for laughing on television when told of an incident in which a performer was allegedly set on fire by a St. Kilda player at the celebration.

Demetriou appeared to giggle uncontrollably on Channel Seven's Talking Footy when co-host Luke Darcy told him about the alleged incident.

"I was actually giggling in the beginning because I'd been told by the producer during the break before we went onto the next segment and I thought they were having me on," he told 3AW radio on Tuesday.

"I thought it was a joke."

Police were investigating the shocking pub incident, which took place in the Bell's Hotel, in South Melbourne. The incident left Johnston "very shaken" according to his work partner and friend, Arthur Serevetas.

They had been employed to wear silly outfits and meet and greet guests at the hotel as entertainment at the party and were  each paid $250 for the gig.

Players wore fancy dress costumes: some were dressed as priests, a school girl and a zombie, Mr Johnston, according to other partygoers.

Serevetas, who saw the incident happen, said he was shocked to see his performing partner being set on fire.

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