'Clearly a joke' Ten defends Kerri-Anne's climate protest comments

Kerri-Anne is in hot water over comments about starving, and running over climate protestors. Photo: Ten
Kerri-Anne is in hot water over comments about starving, and running over climate protestors. Photo: Ten

Global warming is the topic of the day, but it’s Kerri-Anne Kennerley who has found herself in hot water after airing some strong thoughts on climate protestors today.

The Studio 10 host is being blasted on social media after a discussion about the Extinction Rebellion protests got heated.

The panel was arguing over the arrests of protesters, who are currently disrupting traffic as part of the week-long ‘Spring Rebellion’ climate change protests.

When asked by co-host Sarah Harris about her take on the protesters being arrested, Kerri-Anne did not hold back.

“Personally, I would leave them all super glued to wherever they do it,” Kerri-Anne said, adding that emergency services should not be aiding the protesters.

“The guy hanging from the Story Bridge. Why send emergency services to look after, or get a moron down? Leave him there until he gets himself out,” she argued.

“No emergency services should help them, nobody should do anything, and you just put little witches hats around them, or use them as a speed bump.”

The comments shocked her fellow panellists, with Sarah concerned that she was ‘going to get us into trouble’, but the host didn’t stop there.

“Put them in jail, forget to feed them,” she continued.

“(Or) some of the aged care homes around Australia, that would really sort them out.”

A spokesperson for the protest group slammed the comments.

“I would just point out Extinction Rebellion is a peaceful, nonviolent organisation at the centre of all our tactics and messaging,” he told news.com.au.

“Kerri-Anne Kennerley really should think very carefully before making such statements about the impacts they could have.”

Ten defends comments ‘said in jest’

A ten spokesperson released a comment to Yahoo Lifestyle saying Kerri-Anne had said the comments in jest.

“This morning on Studio 10 Kerri-Anne Kennerly made comments regarding climate protesters that were said in jest,” the spokesperson said.

“Before the show concluded, Sarah Harris reiterated the tone of her remarks, affirming that Kerri-Anne wasn’t inciting violence. Kerri-Anne confirmed that she was indeed speaking in hyperbole and her words were clearly a joke. There was no intent to cause offence.”

They also stated the pannel had provided a range of views on the protests over the past few days.

“Over the past few days, Studio 10 has extensively addressed a range of opinions on this subject.”

Outrage online

The host’s comments sparked outrage online, with commentators slamming her comments as ‘cruel’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘controversial’.

Many just wanted the words to stop.

“Shut up Kerri Anne (sic),” one person wrote.

Other’s were horrified, and somewhat concerned.

“Can #Studio10 seek help for #KAK cos this is sad. She has real issues,” one viewer asked.

“Kerri-Anne Kennerly should be removed from her position of TV host for her comments regarding human beings whose only real crime is to care about our planet!” another wrote. “Shame, Kennerley! Shame!”

Another pointed out Kerri-Anne’s choice of words could be considered a foray into the murky territory of freedom of speech restrictions.

“Kerri Anne Kennerley advocating for climate protesters to be ‘used as human speed bumps’ is nothing short of criminal & she should be changed with inciting violence,” the furious viewer wrote.

A limitation within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Australia is party to restricts freedom of speech in certain cases.

“The limitation in article 19 (3) would justify prohibitions on speech that may incite crime, violence or mass panic, provided the prohibition is reasonable, is effective to protect public order, and restricts freedom of expression no more than is necessary to protect public order,” the Attorney General’s website reads.

Under the covenant, the maintenance of ‘public order’ is one of two exceptions that are permitted to prohibit someone’s right to free speech.

Incitement of violence is considered an issue that falls under disruption of public order, however it is an often unclear distinction.

Ten have been contacted for comment.

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