A top Australian TV journalist has sparked a national debate by resigning from his show over the racism he faces as an Indigenous man in the media.
Stan Grant, an award-winning ABC journalist, said the network had complained to Twitter about the “constant racial abuse” he suffered.
He also accused the media of “lying and twisting his words” and portraying him as “full of hatred” after he exposed Britain’s colonial oppression of Indigenous Australians during the ABC’s coverage of King Charles III’s coronation.
“I said that the crown symbolises the invasion and plunder of our land,” Grant wrote in an article on the ABC’s website yesterday.
“Police with the crown’s seal took our children away. Our people were slaughtered under the crown.”
Some conservative media slammed his coronation commentary as biased and unfitting.
Grant said he loved Australia and wanted to tell the truth that Indigenous people still face the worst imprisonment and poverty rates.
The 59-year-old said he would leave as host after the next episode of the ABC’s Q+A current affairs show on Monday.
He criticized his own employer.
- ‘Racial Poison’
“Nobody at the ABC ― who asked me to join their coronation coverage as a guest ― has said anything to support me publicly. No ABC executive has publicly denied the lies written or spoken about me.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese backed Grant, telling reporters: “You can respect different views without engaging in abuse.”
ABC news director Justin Stevens also released a statement supporting Grant, saying he had endured “appalling racial attacks, including threats to his safety”.
Osman Faruqi, culture news editor for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, who used to work at the ABC, said the national broadcaster’s staff did not reflect the diversity of Australia.
But he said the problem was bigger than the national broadcaster in an opinion piece today.
“It’s also bigger than the media. There is a racial poison that runs deep in this country, affecting all of our institutions ― the media, sport, arts, business and politics,” Faruqi said.
In his resignation announcement, Grant said Indigenous people had learned to “bear it”.
But he said the stakes are higher now, as the country gets ready for a referendum this year on whether to give Indigenous people the constitutional right to have a say on laws that impact them.
“There is a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and I am not the only one who feels judged. This is how Australia sees us. That’s politics,” Grant wrote.
“But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I have had enough.”