Don Burke left 'vile and predatory energy' after meeting with The Block contestant

Saturday, 02 December 2017, 04:18:35 AM. A contestant on the first season of reality television show The Block says the gardening guru left a vile and predatory energy in her apartment after an interview in 2003.

Amity Dry and Phil Rankine hold painting tools as they lean on a ladder and pretend the paint a brown wall. Photo: Amity Dry and her husband Phil were interviewed by Don Burke in their apartment in 2003. (Facebook)

A former contestant on The Block has become the latest woman to speak out against television presenter Don Burke, saying "he was vile" and left her and her husband "feeling dirty for the experience" of meeting him.

Amity Dry, who at 24 appeared on the first season of the Channel Nine reality television show with her husband Phil, said she wanted to add her "voice to those who were not employed by Nine but who witnessed his vile behaviour".

A joint ABC/Fairfax investigation has uncovered claims of indecent assault, sexual harassment and bullying of women against Burke in the late 1980s and '90s.

A number of women have come forward with allegations, including many women in the television industry and eight-time Olympic medallist Susie O'Neill.

Burke has strenuously denied all the allegations made against him, saying: "The Harvey Weinstein saga in Hollywood started a witch-hunt."

In an email, Dry said she heard stories about Burke from the production crew when she and her husband filmed their back-story in January 2003.

Many of the crew had worked for Burke previously and had "pretty hair-raising stories about him", Dry said.

Burke denies harassment, says allegations fuelled by social media Video: Burke denies harassment, says allegations fuelled by social media (ABC News)

Dry recalls 'a vile and predatory energy'

She said her first personal experience with Burke came later that year when he visited her apartment to film an interview with her and Phil.

"The producers had warned us what to expect from him beforehand and said just to ignore the bad language and inappropriate jokes," she said.

"I was also warned not to be alone with him."

Dry wrote that she could not remember the exact words Burke said during an hour or so, but does recall jokes about bestiality, references to her looks and body, and sexual comments about teenage school girls on a ferry going past her Kirribilli apartment.

"I remember how many inappropriate things he said that could never possibly go to air and that they just kept rolling the whole time," she said.

Amity Dry smiles as she sits on a white boat, wearing a white dress and large gold earrings. Photo: Dry said she was warned not to be alone with Don Burke. (Instagram: Amity Dry)

Dry said she asked the one female producer present how she put up with it.

"She said something about needing the job, so in effect selling her soul for the privilege," Dry said.

"I remember how I both felt for her but also felt like nothing was worth selling that much for. But then, I was 24."

Dry also said she recalled either a comment made by Burke about Cathy Freeman, or a story about something he said to Cathy Freeman when he was interviewing her, which was "probably the most shocking thing of the day".

"What I remember more than anything was that after he left, my husband and I said we felt like taking a shower and scrubbing the house.

"It was as though a vile and predatory energy had filled it and we felt dirty for the experience."

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