‘Huge mistake’: Man who sent vile texts to women says sorry
The Sydney man who sent multiple women "disgusting" messages when they rejected his advances has spoken out about the shocking incident that went viral and cost him his job and reputation.
On Friday, Ebonie Sanderson shared audio messages she received from a man named Tom in which he could be heard calling her a "disgusting fat pig" after she said she declined to meet him for sex.
Her post was shared by well-known feminists Clementine Ford and Nadia Bokody and it quickly went viral. By Saturday, 28-year-old Thomas McGuirk was identified by his employer and subsequently sacked.
Now the software engineer from Bondi, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, has spoken exclusively to news.com.au as he wanted to apologise to the women involved as he recognised his behaviour was wrong.
"I didn't mean the things I said, I was acting out in an impulsive way because I was hurt and I do recognise it," Mr McGuirk said.
"It was absolutely inappropriate behaviour and I'm really disappointed in myself."
Mr McGuirk said the backlash to his behaviour on multiple dating apps had been a "wake-up call" and he was "extremely embarrassed".
"I was behaving so inappropriately and didn't even realise, until this came out and it hit me, 'what am I doing?'" he said.
He said he knew the way he behaved was "wrong", stating he "struggles with rejection".
"I was angry and upset. There's no excuse for it, I have been brought up with good values and I am so distraught that I let my ego get the better of me."
Mr McGuirk said he was "sincerely sorry" for his actions and added: "If I could take them back I would".
"I didn't mean the harmful things that I said. I was trying to say what I think will hurt them, it's not what actually I believe. It makes no sense."
The audio messages Mr McGuirk sent Ms Sanderson were so shocking that it sparked nationwide fury.
He could be heard in the clips saying: "You're actually a fat f***ing pig. You know that? Thanks. You're f***ing ugly. Your a** looks OKAY and you would have been one f**k. You would have been just one f**k because you're a disgusting fat pig."
His employer - who identified McGuirk from his voice and profile photo - made the swift decision to let him go, stating was there was "no place in our workplace for someone who treats women with that amount of disrespect".
Mr McGuirk - who is now seeking professional help - said he was grateful for the support of his friends and family who told him he needed to "learn" from the awful situation.
"They know this isn't me, I am a good, decent person. This is a huge mistake and they told me I need to learn from it."
Mr McGuirk has since quit all social media and is hoping to move forward and forge "healthy, meaningful relationships".
"I want to make amends and work on myself so it doesn't happen again," he told news.com.au. "I acted out of character without realising the harm I was causing.
"It may seem like your actions online have no consequences, but they do - as I've learnt."
For the women involved, the situation has also been "traumatic".
Ms Sanderson said on Monday that she never expected her post to blow up, but felt it was because this sort of "awful behaviour" was sadly all too common.
"The truth is, this happens more than we think," she told news.com.au earlier this week. "So many women resonated with this kind of sexist behaviour and it was really sad to discover just how real it is."
Nancy Sokarno, a psychologist at Lysn, said rejection could be difficult and upsetting, even causing a person who felt unwanted to "lash out".
"Rejection will affect most people and it can also inflict damage to our psychological wellbeing," she told news.com.au.
"There have been countless studies that have demonstrated that even mild rejection can lead people to take out their aggression on innocent bystanders.
"Angry or aggressive kind of behaviour can often stem back to the fact that the perpetrator's self-esteem has been diminished."
Ms Sokarno said reacting aggressively was "never acceptable" and was usually brought on by the fact someone's ego or self-value had taken a hit.
"For some, acting aggressively is a result of being unable to deal with the rejection or lack of control over that person," she said.
HOW TO HANDLE REJECTION
Ms Sokarno said dealing with rejection could be difficult, but it was important to remember "any feelings you're experiencing are your own responsibility - you alone decide how you react".
She said if you find yourself getting sad, upset or angry, allow yourself to feel the emotions but don't act on them.
"If you are feeling as though you're struggling to cope, turn to those that can best support you," she said.
"Surround yourself with supportive people who love and care about you, reminding you that not everyone will reject you."
Ms Sokarno suggested taking part in activities you enjoy that can make you "feel good again" and build back your diminished self-esteem.
"Healing from rejection can take time, so be patient and focus on ways that you can feel good again," she said.
"Don't be afraid to seek the help of a professional who can provide you with coping mechanisms."
Originally published as 'Huge mistake': Tinder texter speaks out