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Gold Logie winner defends Molly Meldrum's Logies hijack

GOLD Logie award-winner Samuel Johnson has said stage crasher Molly Meldrum "must have been loosey-goosy", but has defended the icon saying that underneath it all was a "really sweet act".

The actor, talking on The Project on Monday, admitted he hadn't slept since the win after talking to his sister Connie, who has terminal cancer, for four hours overnight. He dedicated the award to her.

Johnson said his world was "upside down" and he was stunned into silence when his name was announced.

"It's the most bizarre thing. My brain went boom and my heart went blah and ever since, I've been trying to articulate it."

But it was Meldrum's impromptu podium speech that got everyone talking.

While some saw it as a golden Logies moment: the triumph of a legend hijacking the live television beast in an industry prerecorded and micro-produced to within an inch of its life; others saw it as car-crash television.

Johnson told The Project panel, Meldrum was such a legend he quickly made the decision to sacrifice the lectern to him.

"It certainly wasn't scripted. Nor were his F-bombs. He doesn't actually swear that much to my memory, so he must have been loosey-goosy."

Asked by Carrie Bickmore if Meldrum's intervention was "funny, inappropriate, or just uncomfortable," Johnson replied that the star meant well.

"It was [a bit] awkward, but it was classic vintage Molly. It's Molly doing Molly times a hundred."

Johnson said what should be remembered was that Meldrum was up there for the right reasons.

"He really tried to add to the moment and to give me a gold stetson at an important time and to acknowledge his relationship with my family. It was touching in its way and, underneath it all, it was a really sweet act and I hope people understand that."

Despite Johnson's generosity, Meldrum's rambling, expletive-riddled turn at the microphone exposed an elephant in the entertainment room, with some wondering if it's time the industry that loves him so should stop pretending all is fine, when it's clearly not.

Meldrum's public appearances have been limited since the music guru sustained a brain injury in a fall from a ladder in 2011. He's not the Molly of old. He knows it. The industry knows it. The fans know it.

But in the wake of his awkward Logies appearance, some questioned why he was put in a position which could easily go pear-shaped.

Those at the Logies say it was mayhem from the second Meldrum was helped onto the stage and interrupted Johnson mid-speech.

Meldrum was never famous for his brevity, and when Johnson gave him the floor the second time, he was clearly loath to step in.

Off camera, the floor manager was signalling and imploring Johnson, presenter Dave Hughes ... anyone, to intervene. Cries from the audience of "We love you Molly," did not interrupt his flow.

The Today show's Richard Wilkins was edging closer, clearly needing to close the show.

Eventually as Meldrum lost steam, his personal assistant and a trophy-bearer, arms through his, nudged him to present the hat, then helped him off stage.

There's no disputing Meldrum's status as a much-loved industry icon, but some claim those around him now have a duty of care to protect him.

Meldrum has long loved the spotlight, but insiders suggest that it's time to protect him from himself.

"The excuse 'that's just Molly' isn't enough. Molly was always a loose cannon with little filter - a characteristic which endeared him to so many - but now he's a loose cannon with no filter. He's a legend, and who says no to a legend? But he's a legend who shouldn't be put in a live TV situation," one source told news.com.au.

"Australia loves Molly, idolises him, but maybe it's time to say enough. It's wrong and it's humiliating to an Australian icon. He deserves more respect than to be put in a position to humiliate himself."

The reaction from fans and viewers on social media, some "team Molly", some "get him off" also included a large contingent asking who is protecting Meldrum from himself?

But others hit back, reminding them that slurred, slow speech and scattered thinking are a result of his brain injury.

"Great to see him (Molly) on stage at the Logies tonight, offered Bill Hayek on Twitter.

Another supporter, Bob Braund, took to Facebook with a message to "all the plastics", who found Molly "cringe-worthy".

"The man had a stroke you morons. He also was a main contributor to the Australian music industry. Without his foresight many musicians would never have had the chance to get started. "CRINGE-WORTHY" are you. The ignorant critics".

But many found it excruciating. "Oh dear. Oh dear dear dear. This is awful," @katiemelb wrote on Twitter.


Molly ends it with a kiss. Picture: Channel 9
Questions were asked if Meldrum should have been allowed on stage at all.

"Who thought it was a good idea to let Molly Meldrum make a complete spectacle of himself? "Yes, he was a great celebrity in his day. Let him at least have some dignity now" wrote one commentator.

It was a common theme.

"Yes it was cringe-worthy but only because the man has never recovered from his accident. Molly is an icon in the music industry and that was terribly sad to see," offered Christine O'Connell via Facebook.

Many were concerned to see Meldrum's health issues so clearly on show.

"Very sad to see how much Molly had deteriorated after all his health issues," said Robyn Petersen

"Poor Molly. So sad to see him like that. Organisers should have managed it better," was the summation from another commenter.

Johnson himself, who said afterwards he suspected he couldn't have stopped Molly if he had wanted to, made light publicly of the incident: "It was late, it was Logies, he might've had a light beer."

On Monday morning he told KIIS FM hosts that Molly was the biggest part of his victory and deserved his place on stage.

"I wouldn't have the Gold without him," Johnson said.

"At the end of the day he did mention my father who had passed and my sister who he met when she was 11 at the Royal Children's Hospital so when I deciphered his speech afterwards I realised that he was coming from a really sweet place."

News Corp Australia

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