Prominent media personalities have rallied to support Indigenous television host Stan Grant after he announced he was quitting his job following racist abuse online.
Mr Grant has been the host of the popular talk show Q+A for nearly a year but said Monday’s program would be his last.
The veteran presenter said he was fed up with the “relentless racial filth” and perceived lack of support from his public broadcaster executives.
He said he felt let down by ABC bosses who had not publicly supported him and condemned the attacks, which intensified after he appeared on ABC’s coverage of King Charles’s coronation, where he spoke of the hardships of First Nations people.
“This year there is more at stake. There is a referendum on an indigenous vote in parliament and I am not alone in feeling condemned,” wrote Mr Grant, a proud man from Wiradjuri, Gurrawin and Dharawal.
“This is an Australian judgment on us. Such is politics. But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I’ve had enough.’
Stan Grant’s decision to leave Q+A after intense racist attacks on social media sparked a wave of support from colleagues
Sarah Ferguson of ABC’s 7:30 was furious that her colleague had been forced to resign
Sarah Ferguson, host of the ABC’s 7.30am program, was quick to praise Mr Grant in a tweet Friday that has been viewed by more than 238,000 people.
Stan Grant is a valued colleague. The abuse against him is disgusting. There are no words to describe the horror we feel at this,” she wrote.
“Stan is brilliant and loved.”
Journalist Tracy Spicer wrote, “He walks away. This is always the aim of the bigots: to silence powerful voices.’
“Shame on the ABC for not supporting him,” she said.
Social commentator Jane Caro also weighed in.
“Shocked that Stan Grant was asked to comment on the coronation, did, and was hung to dry… I don’t always agree with Stan (anything) but racist attacks are never okay.”
ABC colleague Virginia Trioli wrote that she was “shocked and saddened that Stan Grant, a brilliant broadcaster and thinker, has been forced out of the ever-critical battle of ideas.”
“If this country cannot have a civil debate about recognition, racism and the legacy of colonialism, then we are lost. I hope he comes back soon,” she wrote.
But her support of Mr. Grant only made her another target for trolls.
She gave an update less than a day later saying her “feed was flooded with the most appalling racist s*** and incendiary Voice disinformation.”
“Very few of these accounts actually follow me,” she added, wondering if Twitter’s algorithm works to “lure” trolls to her tweet.
Even Prime Minister Anthony Albanese weighed in on Mr Grant’s departure from Q+A when he landed in Japan for the G7 summit on Friday afternoon.
“Stan Grant is someone who has my respect and I wish him well,” he said.
“I think leading up to the referendum that will be held in the fourth quarter of this year, we should be very, very aware of some of the hurtful comments that have been made.
You only have to look at one of my social media feeds to see some comments that are frankly completely out of line. We can respect different views without doing any harm and that is important.’
Virginia Trioli, who hosts the ABC’s News Breakfast, said she was targeted by trolls after she tweeted in support of Stan Grant
Mr Grant explained in a lengthy column on Friday his decision to quit Q+A, saying he felt “no one” at the ABC stood up for him.
“I write this because no one at the ABC — whose producers have invited me as a guest for their coronation coverage — has uttered a single word of public support,” he wrote.
“No ABC executive has publicly refuted the lies written or spoken about me. I hold no one responsible; this is an institutional failure.
“I appreciate the friendship of ABC News Director Justin Stevens. He has been a help and support. He’s trying to change an organization that has its own legacy of racism. But he knows I’m disappointed. I am discouraged.
“I was not the producer or host of the coronation broadcast, but every newspaper article accusing the ABC of bias has carried my image. I’m writing this because I don’t want people to portray me as a person of hate.’
Justin Stevens, director of ABC News, released a statement on Friday denouncing the abuse and said Mr Grant had been invited to the coronation panel.
“Racist abuse, including threats to (Mr. Grant’s) safety, has become particularly virulent since appearing as part of the ABC’s Coronation coverage,” he wrote.
Stan is one of Australia’s best and most respected journalists and broadcasters. The ABC stands behind him and condemns the attacks directed at him.
Responsibility for reporting rests with ABC News management, not Stan Grant. Yet it is he who has been subjected to a tirade of criticism, especially in the usual sections of the media that focus on the ABC.’
Coverage of the ABC’s coronation sparked 1,000 complaints from monarchists, but more than 1 million people tuned in
The ABC panel for the coronation, hosted by Jeremy Fernandez and Julia Baird, included journalist Stan Grant, lawyer and Indigenous writer Teela Reid, liberal backbencher and monarchist Julian Leeser and Australian Republic Movement co-chair Craig Foster.
In a statement on the coverage, the ABC said: ‘Listening to Indigenous Australians and thinking about Australia’s history is an important part of this.’
“Especially as Australians will be voting in a referendum this year on whether a First Nations vote in parliament should be included in the country’s constitution.”
The Australian Monarchist League claimed the coverage included “vitriolic attacks on the king, the monarchy, the British settlement.”
The ABC received over 1,000 complaints, although its coverage surpassed Australian viewership with over 1,182,000 people tuning in.