Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has spoken publicly for the first time since news of a potential racial vilification lawsuit came to light, revealing she has been receiving death threats online.
The veteran presenter, who has also changed her Instagram account to private, has defended herself over a March 2018 segment on the Stolen Generation, aired on the breakfast program, and shared some of the messages she has been receiving from followers.
Posting a lengthy statement to Twitter, Samantha said she had received “tens of thousands of threats” over the past week.
“Mainly from people who claim they wish to spread peace,” she wrote. “Most use violence towards me, some use violence towards my dog Banjo.
“There is no place for racism in our country, our media, our hearts. There should also be no place for violence or threats.”
She shared four screenshots of messages she had received online that included comments like: “You deserve every hate that’s coming to you and I can’t wait until you’re dead.”
Samantha Armytage and commentator Prue MacSween, who was a guest on the segment in question, face the potential Federal Court action after settlement negotiations collapsed in a group racial discrimination complaint filed in the Australian Human Rights Commission.
During a March 2018 broadcast 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.”
In her statement, Samantha said the show discussed the topic as it was “front page news” that day, after an incident involving a two-year-old girl in the Northern Territory.
“At no stage did I suggest a second stolen generation,” she continued.
The 2015 clip saw Samantha Armytage criticised for a comment during an interview with British non-identical twins Lucy and Maria Aylmer.
“Anyone who actually watches that video can clearly see I was being self-deprecating,” she wrote, adding she was commenting on her own “Irish heritage” and “troublesome pale skin”.
“The twins involved agreed. My words my have been clumsy, but they were certainly NOT racist.”