The former Labor leader Mark Latham has resigned as a regular columnist for the Australian Financial Review, the newspaper said online on Monday.
The paper’s editor in chief, Michael Stutchbury, denied the high-profile columnist had been sacked, contradicting a tweet from the @RealMarkLatham account.
On Friday Buzzfeed reported that the apparent parody account, which has aimed derogatory remarks at numerous prominent women, appeared to be operated by Latham. On Monday the same site reported the Twitter handle was associated with Latham’s email address.
Among those targeted by the account were the Australian of the year, Rosie Batty, and journalists Anne Summers, Leigh Sales, Lisa Pryor, Mia Freedman and Annabel Crabb.
Stutchbury said the columnist of eight years told him on Sunday he had written his last column and reports he had been dismissed by the newspaper were incorrect.
Stutchbury praised Latham as a “provocative and highly readable columnist” who was “both loved and hated by readers”.
“While I didn’t agree with everything Mark wrote, he has played a significant role in Australian public life and brought rare personal insight into his writing.”
Stutchbury earlier told Guardian Australia he was not aware of the @RealMarkLatham tweet.
“I am just in a meeting now but I don’t know anything about that,” Stutchbury said. Asked if he had sacked Latham, he hung up.
The Australian Financial Review has been under increasing pressure to sack Latham for provocative remarks he has made about women in his weekly column.
Latham has attacked the Australian of the year, domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, and has referred to the transgender military officer Catherine McGregor as “he/she” in his AFR column.
He wrote that “Australia’s highest-profile soldier is The Artist Formerly Known As Malcolm McGregor – a military adviser with a direct line to the prime minister. He/she penned the infamous YouTube broadcast that lifted the lid on sex abuse and alcoholism in the Australian army – again, not the sort of thing the Iraqis want to hear.”
A week ago McGregor complained about Latham to Stutchbury and Fairfax Media’s chief executive, Greg Hywood, as revealed by Buzzfeed.
In June Latham accused Batty of turning domestic violence into “entertainment” by joining the speaking circuit.
“How did Batty immerse herself in such company, wheeled out at business functions to retell the story of her son’s murder in February 2014? This is one of my pet gripes about modern society: the way in which serious issues and events are converted into bizarre forms of celebrity.”
Efforts to contact Latham have been unsuccessful.
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