Official complaints lodged over Kerri-Anne's 'speed bump' comment

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Kerri-Anne's comments have sparked outcry online, and now official complaints are rolling in. Photo: Ten

Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s controversial commentary on climate change protestors has sparked official complaints, says the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

In a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle, the ACMA confirmed multiple complaints were registered over Kerri-Anne’s comments on Wednesday, which included suggesting protestors be used ‘as speed bumps’, and left in jail without being fed.

“The ACMA has received four complaints regarding the comments made by Ms Kennerley regarding Extinction Rebellion protesters,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle.

ACMA refers complainants to the broadcaster initially, and will only take action if after 60 days, no response is issued, or they are not satisfied with the response.

Ten defends Kerri-Anne

The complaints come after the Studio 10 host was blasted on social media for suggesting Extinction Rebellion protestors should be run over and left to starve.

Ten has issued a statement defending the comments as ‘a joke’ and arguing the discussion around the protests on the show has included a balance of opinions that validate Kerri-Anne’s comments.

The comments were part of a panel discussion 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.

“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 drew concern from fellow panelists Joe Hildebrand, Angela Bishop and Sarah Harris. Photo: Ten

Despite the other panellists protests, she added another comment that further fuelled the fire.

“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.”

Furious response

A spokesperson for the protest group slammed the comments.

“I would just point out Extinction Rebellion is a peaceful, non-violent organisation,” he told news.com.au.

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

Outrage was also sparked online, with commentators slamming her remarks 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.

Freedom of speech

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.

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