MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo has called out a stunning example of racist hatred on against fellow judge Melissa Leong in a galvanising Instagram post.
The Scottish-born South Australian took to Instagram to share a vile message of hate sent in by a fan, who used an ugly slur while criticising Melissa.
The judge took to Instagram with a screenshot of the message, deciding to expose the man’s name for all to see as a way of naming and shaming some of the vitriol the judges, and Melissa in particular, deal with on a daily basis.
“Where to begin with this...” he wrote in the caption of the screenshot.
“Firstly I can only assume you are referring to Fooderati (Melissa’s Instagram handle) when you used the term ‘g**k’.”
“She’s actually Melissa, she’s my work wife, my sister, my mate, she drinks espresso like I do, she is able to express and articulate a damn sight better than you can clearly and that is just the beginning Graham. She’s a woman whose origin happens to be different than yours, but why does that make you so afraid?”
He went on to directly address the bully and call out his issues with non-white people.
“I feel sorry for you that you cannot see past the colour of someone’s skin or actually the fact they are just different than your white ass in any way.”
“Graham, please get educated and be a better human. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you who are most probably too embarrassed by the shit you say to let you know.”
He went on to issue a warning to anyone else thinking of sending in a private, hateful message to any of the judges.
“I’m sick of this type of thing getting sent to me so here’s a heads up... if you send this kind of shit to me it’s getting called out.”
‘Thanks for being an ally’: Melissa responds
Melissa took to Instagram to thank Jock for his eloquent response, and to call out the behaviour and anyone trying to minimise it.
“We have such a long way to go as a nation if we think racism doesn’t exist,” she wrote. “Thank you for being an ally, a friend and an awesome work husband.”
Other MasterChef contestants joined the thread to share their delight at the judge’s decision to take a stand.
“Well done!” Poh Ling Yeow wrote.
“Ally,” Khanh Kong wrote.
“When blatant racism tries to stay in the shadows you get a big torch,” former GoggleBox star Symon Lovett wrote. “Well done.”
Other fans took to the comments to praise Melissa for her work on the series in defiance of the hateful comment.
“Well I think Melissa has been a breath of fresh air and an absolutely magnificent addition to this wonderful season of Masterchef,” one woman wrote. “A light in this really hard year.”
“I can’t believe someone would actually would write this,” another fan shared. “For what it’s worth I love Melissa. She is an exceptional judge, very articulate on the show and has a great deal of insight about food. I love Masterchef and all of you.”
“How dare he speak about a national treasure in this manner,” another wrote.
Melissa calls out racism earlier in the season
The disturbing message is sadly not the first time a MasterChef star has had to deal with racism during publicity for the show, and Jocks decision to call it out follows in Melissa’s own footsteps.
Melissa took the opportunity to call out the incident on her page and give a greater platform to Sarah’s experience.
“The incident inflicted on Sarah Tiong is a mere daily occurrence for many POC,” she wrote at the time. “It is not funny or clever. It just illustrates how deeply rooted racial toxicity is in this country and anyone with a voice in media should know better.”