Here’s a story: On September 20, 1997, the Cronulla Sharks faced the Brisbane Broncos in the Grand Final of Australia’s rugby Super League, played in the Broncos’ home stadium. While the Sharks did their best, the Broncos dominated the game, winning 26-8.
After the game, 900 miles down the coast in Sydney, a 29-year-old Sharks fan, distraught at the result, pulled into the parking lot of a McDonald’s in the northern suburb of Engadine. He walked into the restaurant and shit his pants.
Twenty-one years later, that man became Prime Minister of Australia.
The story of a young Scott Morrison, future leader, turning the Golden Arches brown, may or may not be true. It doesn’t really matter — people will bring it up until the day he dies. The story in its current incarnation seems to have begun with a tweet on August 24, 2018 — the day Morrison became prime minister — by the 6-foot-7 Australian singer/rapper/DJ Joyride, who wrote, “Scott Morrison shat himself at Engadine McDonalds after the Sharks lost the GF in ‘97.”
Joyride expanded on the story slightly, clarifying that he knew about it because a friend of his worked in the McDonald’s at the time and it was “pretty bad.”
While Joyride’s revelation didn’t change the world overnight, by about six months later the idea had captured the imagination of the Australian public. “Engadine Maccas,” without even mentioning the shitting, became a meme — Morrison would tweet something and get a reply like: “Hi Scott. Still waiting to hear back from you about whether it’s true that you shit your dacks at Engadine Maccas after the 1997 grand final. The public have a right to know.”
Other Australian politicians were quizzed about it — if the treasurer was on the radio, he’d be asked about the pants-shitting. And opponents of Morrison’s obviously leapt on it — Senator Mehreen Fahruqi tweeted a lengthy thread before Election Day in 2019, in which the first letter of every tweet spelled out “ENGADINE MACCAS.” She was reelected.
There are, of course, unanswered questions surrounding the incident, but over the last few years, Twitter detectives have pieced together what likely happened, taking a few things into account: 1) McDonald’s being open past midnight; 2) Morrison potentially having watched the game at Sharks League Club in Cronulla; and 3) Morrison heading for a three-hour drive home to the Australian capital of Canberra, taking the coastal Wollongong Road.
The atmosphere in the Sharks League Club would have been amazing that night — enough that a massive fan like Morrison would have felt making the long drive there and back was worth it to be a part of history, rather than watching the game at home in Canberra or enjoying it in a bar near his house with a few drinks. Perhaps, knowing he had a long journey home ahead of him, Morrison had a few coffees during the game. Perhaps, anxious his beloved Sharks weren’t going to win, he shoveled ridiculous amounts of bar snacks into his mouth, eating and eating in order to feel something, anything, beyond the heartache of seeing his team come so close to glory and not quite make it. All kinds of things could have been going on in his stomach.
And then, perhaps, he got in his car — disappointed, dejected, crushed — and headed home, stopping briefly to enter a McDonald’s and blast shit out of his asshole into his underpants.
It should be noted that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not a good man. He’s been instrumental in policies that have led to the deaths of countless asylum seekers — possibly contravening the U.N. Refugee Convention — and was singled out by the Australian Human Rights Commission for endangering the lives of children held in detention. He tried to get a bill passed that would allow parents to remove their children from classes if same-sex marriage was discussed in school. In December 2019, when Australia was struggling with out-of-control bushfires, he fucked off on a vacation to Hawaii and got his staff to lie and say he was still in Australia. In 2021, the Australian Parliament was rocked by a rape scandal, which Morrison handled fairly appallingly — two-thirds of Australians concluded Morrison’s government was more concerned with protecting itself than women.
Before entering politics, Morrison worked in advertising — he is sometimes referred to as “Scotty from Marketing” — and beyond his politics, he is frequently criticized for the patronizing, disingenuous, insincere way he has presented himself as a “man of the people.” He has gone out of his way to contrive an image of himself as an authentic bloody Aussie bloke, a meat pie-eating, sport-loving, baseball-cap-wearing normal guy. He finishes press conferences with, “Let’s go Sharks!” He’s also — and nobody is going to claim for a second that this is a metric politicians should be judged on — fucking terrible at Borat impressions.
This is where the pant-shitting really spirals down (or, if you prefer, flushes). Morrison has basically spent years working hard to portray himself as exactly the kind of guy that might well have shit his pants in a McDonald’s.
He’s made efforts to take ownership of the rumor and make jokes about it, presumably in the hope he could extinguish its power in some way. It’s not a bad tactic — a sort of smirky “I can neither confirm nor deny” approach, and in a more likeable person you can absolutely see it working. It was 24 years ago, after all, and it’s Australia, an incredible country with a way of doing things that’s entirely its own. There aren’t, for example, many countries where you’ll hear the word “dickhead” used as freely on the TV news.
As unpleasant as shitting your pants in a McDonald’s is, at least there’s an involuntary element to it. Nobody deliberately shits their pants — they might deliberately get really fucked up in a way that leads to pants-shitting, but at least the shitting of pants isn’t the goal. Unfounded accusations other politicians can’t shake — being the Zodiac killer, sticking their dicks into the mouth of a severed pig’s head, paying sex workers to urinate over a bed their predecessors once slept in — involve a lot more malice. Shitting your pants after a big game isn’t exactly a universal, “we’ve all done it” experience, but it’s not monstrous either.
“When the story came out, a friend of mine posted a really serious message about it in a group WhatsApp,” says John, a landscape gardener from Sydney. “He was saying what a disgrace Morrison was and how terrible this was and everything. I reminded him he had shat himself on nights out at least three times.”
For his part, on July 15th, Morrison was on the Kyle and Jackie O Show radio program and brought up the rumor, entirely unsolicited. “It is the biggest urban myth ever, it is complete and utter rubbish,” said Morrison, who went on to insist that he found it funny, and sometimes joked about it with his team when passing a McDonald’s. “Some of the funniest yarns are the ones that aren’t true, and I think that’s one of them.”
It doesn’t matter whether Scott Morrison shat his pants in an Engadine McDonald’s. If you’re regularly dedicating time to telling people you didn’t shit your pants, you might as well have shit your pants. Saying you didn’t shit your pants is exactly what you’d say if you shit your pants. What did or didn’t happen regarding Scott Morrison’s anus is, as far as history is concerned, completely immaterial. The Google reviews of the branch almost all mention or allude to it (“I kept my slacks clean, but it was still pretty good. I probably won’t be Prime Minister though”), he’ll be asked about it for the rest of his life and there’s a plaque on a bench outside the restaurant to commemorate the incident. It reads:
“It was at this spot in the evening of the 20th of September 1997 that Scott Morrison defecated in his pants after the Cronulla Sharks lost the Super League Grand Final to the Brisbane Broncos 25-8.”
You can’t argue with a plaque. Motherfucker shit his pants in McDonald’s. Gross.