‘Violent illness’: Thorpe backs Stan on racism
Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe has thrown her support behind ABC presenter Stan Grant, who has taken leave after facing growing racial abuse.
Grant, a proud Wiradjuri journalist, announced he would be “walking away” from the program in an essay published on ABC’s website on Friday, citing racist abuse while at the helm of the program.
Dozens of employees gathered in front of the broadcaster’s Sydney headquarters at Ultimo, outside Parliament House at Canberra and outside the Melbourne headquarters on Monday afternoon.
Huge turn out of ABC @withMEAA members standing with Stan Grant. The vile racism that has been thrown at him and other Indigenous staff members recently is not on #istandwithstan#werejectracismpic.twitter.com/EHcPm5U9to
— Tyron Butson (@tbutson) May 22, 2023
Racism is abhorrent. I stand with my friend and colleague Stan Grant. pic.twitter.com/KAcRbyBBHK
— David Speers (@David_Speers) May 22, 2023
The Q+A presenter will host the program on Monday night before he takes time out for an unspecified time period.
Senator Thorpe, who has been vocal about racial vilification, said on Monday racism in Australia is a “violent illness”.
“Racism is in most of our workplaces including the so called highest level of governance in this country, where racism is an everyday occurrence and according to government procedure there is no rule against Racism in the chamber. It’s not ok to be Racist. Or is it?” she tweeted.
“Racism is alive and well in this country. When you call it out, you become the target. I know too well what hate speech and Racism looks like, you are then branded the problem and the aggressor and labeled with being divisive.
“I Stand with Stan in the fight against Racism in this county. It’s a violent illness that this nation must and can overcome.”
On Monday, ABC staff across the country held rallies to show support for Grant.
Staffer Dee Jefferson took to Twitter announcing the walkout, saying many staff share the same experience of racial abuse.
“ABC staff are walking out in support of Stan this afternoon,” she wrote.
“Stan’s experience of racist abuse is shared by so many colleagues. Listening is the smallest part of what we can do to help clean up this mess.”
ABC host Patricia Karvelas also tweeted on Monday afternoon in support.
“#istandwithstan #werejectracism,” her tweet wrote.
Federal political reporter Dana Morse wrote: “Enough is enough”.
Meanwhile, co-host of ABC News Breakfast Virginia Trioli also tweeted the hashtags while tagging ABC Melbourne and ABC TV.
Other reporters threw in their support, including Triple J Hack reporter Kimberly Price and reporter Casey Briggs.
If you aren’t here standing against racism and violence … where are you? #istandwithstanpic.twitter.com/HW1VITVknq
— Nessa Turnbull-Roberts (@TurnbullVanessa) May 22, 2023
“ABC staff stand in solidarity with Stan Grant and against absolute drongos #IStandWithStan,” Briggs tweeted.
Images were shared to social media showing the crowd of employees by Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union (MEAA) organiser Tyron Butson.
Signs held by members of the crowd read “I stand with Stan” and “We reject racism”.
“Amazing to see a massive member turnout from ABC Ultimo saying #werejectracism and #istandwithstan declaring Australian media and society must do better,” Mr Butson wrote.
Staff at ABC Southbank standing in solidarity with Wiradjuri, Dharawal and Gurrawin man Stan Grant. #IStandWithStan#WeRejectRacisimpic.twitter.com/mpYR9Gwqb9
— Kimberley Price (she/her) (@_kimberleyprice) May 22, 2023
Members of Grant’s family also attended the Sydney protest and thanked the crowd for support.
Grant shocked viewers by announcing his resignation last week, which came less than a year after being made the permanent host of the network’s current affairs talk show.
He said he was standing down due to racial abuse and lack of public support from people at the ABC, especially after he criticised the monarchy during coverage of the King’s coronation in early May.
“This year, the stakes are higher. There is a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and I am not alone in feeling judged. This is an Australian judgment of us. Such is politics,” he explained.
“But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I have had enough.”