Former Studio 10 host Jessica Rowe has been forced to delete a podcast interview with controversial politician Pauline Hanson after copping widespread backlash.
In promoting the episode from The Jess Rowe Big Talk Show initially, the seasoned journalist and presenter explained the interview with Pauline "isn’t about politics" and instead she "talks love, raising kids and why she keeps going".
She shared a statement on social media on Wednesday night in response to the "reaction and comment" over her podcast conversation with Pauline.
"Pauline’s political views are the opposite of mine. I have never agreed with her on those issues. Never will. Kindness is at the heart of who I am," Jessica said.
"Amongst the comments today I heard from some who I admire enormously including Nakkiah Lui and Grace Tame and I want to thank them especially for their candour.
"This will be start of a bigger conversation for me and with those who this topic directly affects. I have asked LISTNR to remove the episode ASAP."
Australian of the Year and activist Grace Tame took to Twitter to call out Jessica for the interview, writing: "This is how discrimination and hate is subtly enabled and normalised. Everyone’s entitled to their own views but not all views should be valorised by promoting their source. Pauline doesn’t need help to be heard, but those whose oppression she’s both driven and reinforced do."
NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong also hit out: "Hi Jess – I love watching your evening lockdown outfit pics and the joy you have at home, so I feel sick to my stomach that you are doing this. Please don’t."
While playwright and commentator Nakkiah Lui said "this is just not it".
"You’re platforming a racist. You’re celebrating someone who has made a career/$$$ from degrading, disrespecting and dehumanising many people. If you’re not interrogating them, you’re validating those racist opinions," Nakkiah added.
She also had fans comment, with one saying: "Wow, I'm really shocked that someone with such a bright, positive vibe would interview someone like Hanson who is openly and unapologetically racist. Disappointing Jess."
Jessica did received some support, with former Sky Journalist Charlotte Mortlock saying she thought it still "important to speak to people we don’t agree with to still try and understand them".
And now since deleting the episode, Jessica has also been called out by others online for "caving in" and removing the interview.
"It's a shame you've been bullied into taking it down," one person wrote on Twitter, with others believing she should have "stood by" her decision to interview the Senator.
"It's so easy to never interview anyone controversial. You did a brave thing, but it seems people weren't able to see that, which is small-minded of them," another agreed.
During the podcast episode, Jessica said: "Over the years, we’ve butted heads over her political views and Pauline knows I don’t agree with her approach, but I’m fascinated by her as a person."
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