Sam Armytage, Prue MacSween face racial vilification lawsuit

·2-min read

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage and commentator Prue MacSween are facing a racial vilification lawsuit over a controversial segment on indigenous adoption aired by the Seven Network.

The potential Federal Court action comes after settlement negotiations collapsed in a group racial discrimination complaint filed in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Samantha Armytage on a controversial Sunrise segment
Samantha Armytage and Prue MacSween on a controversial Sunrise segment. Photo: Channel 7

During a March 2018 broadcast, Sam Armytage and panellists on the breakfast TV show discussed Aboriginal adoption.

During the segment, Prue MacSween said: “Just like the first Stolen Generation, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their well-being, we need to do it again.”

The Federal Court action is being led by Aboriginal elder Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, the group's lawyers said in a statement on Thursday.

They said the eight Aboriginal complainants were forced to take the action after the commission negotiations broke down.

“Sunrise platformed wealthy white women calling for a Stolen Generations 2.0 as a means of salvation for our young people,” Ms Dixon-Grovenor said.

“This shameful, profoundly hurtful and devastating display of racism was broadcast by a commercial television station into homes right across Australia.

“The dignity of all Aboriginal people and children was violated in our very own homes and lounge rooms around Australia.”

Sunrise Sam Armytage
Sam Armytage and panellists on the breakfast TV show discussed Aboriginal adoption. Photo: Getty

At the time the segment itself was found by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to have breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice for inaccuracies and for provoking serious contempt on the bases of race.

A Seven spokeswoman said the network was not aware of any actual claim being filed at this stage so could not comment on the case.

"Seven settled the original matter in late 2019 in the Federal Court with the Yirrkala community and the Yolngu families and offered an unreserved apology on-air shortly after," the spokeswoman said.

After negotiations broke down the group had 60 days to file a case in the Federal Court.

With AAP

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