The managing director of the ABC has apologised to Stan Grant, after the TV host quit his job at the national broadcaster over racism.
On Friday, Grant announced he was leaving his job as host of ABC’s Q+A after receiving “grotesque racist abuse” which he said escalated after he hosted the channel’s coverage of the King’s coronation. He said he felt unsupported by the ABC in the wake of the abuse.
“Not one ABC executive has publicly refuted the lies written or spoken about me,” the proud Wiradjuri journalist wrote. “I don’t hold any individual responsible; this is an institutional failure.”
On Friday, ABC News tweeted: “Stan Grant will stop hosting Q+A after Monday’s episode and pause other commitments, citing racist abuse he has received.”
Now managing director David Anderson has apologised to the veteran journalist.
“Stan Grant has stated that he has not felt publicly supported,” Mr Anderson said.
“For this, I apologise to Stan. The ABC endeavours to support its staff in the unfortunate moments when there is external abuse directed at them.”
Stan Grant has quit as host of the show after ‘grotesque racist abuse’. Picture: ABC
Mr Anderson also agreed to launch an investigation of ABC responses to racism affecting staff.
“The Chair and Deputy Chair of the ABC’s Bonner Committee have asked me to conduct a review to investigate and make recommendations about ABC responses to racism affecting ABC staff, and what we can do better to support staff who face it,” he said.
He said he was “dismayed” that Grant had been exposed to such “sickening behaviour”.
“The experiences of ABC presenter and commentator Stan Grant following our coverage of the coronation of King Charles III have been distressing and confronting for the ABC, as they should be for the entire media industry and the broader community.
“Stan has our full support. And he has always had our full support. Stan makes an enormous contribution to conversations of national importance.”
‘I have seen the media lie and distort my words’
In an essay for ABC online, published on Friday, Grant wrote of the lies that had been spread about him after the broadcaster’s coverage of the coronation on May 6.
“Since the King’s coronation, I have seen people in the media lie and distort my words. They have tried to depict me as hate-filled. They have accused me of maligning Australia,” he wrote.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. My ancestors would not allow me to be filled with hate.”
The ABC’s panel during King Charles III’s coronation including co-chair of the Australian Republic Movement Craig Foster, Liberal MP Julian Lesser, presenters Jeremy Fernandez and Julia Baird and Q+A host Stan Grant on May 6, 2023. Picture: ABC
He continued: “I was invited to contribute to the ABC’s coverage as part of a discussion about the legacy of the monarchy.
“I pointed out that the crown represents the invasion and theft of our land. In the name of the crown, my people were segregated on missions and reserves. Police wearing the seal of the crown took children from their families. Under the crown our people were massacred.”
Grant’s wrote his decision to step down also included wider criticism of the media as well as the racism he has been subjected to.
“I don’t take time out because of racism – I won’t give racists the satisfaction. I don’t take time out because I believe the ABC was wrong to discuss the legacy of colonisation and empire on the day of the coronation,” he wrote.
“We did that, I believe, with maturity and respect.
“I take time out because we have shown again that our history – our hard truth – is too big, too fragile, too precious for the media. The media sees only battle lines, not bridges. It sees only politics.”
Guest speaker Stan Grant during the ABCs King’s Coronation coverage. Picture: ABC
Support for colleague
His resignation shocked other journalists, with 7.30 host Sarah Ferguson one of the first to respond saying Grant was an “admired colleague”.
“The abuse directed at him is disgusting. There are no words adequate to the horror we feel at this. Stan is brilliant and cherished,” she wrote.
Tracey Spicer also weighed in.
“Stan Grant has written an eloquent, devastating and moving piece about the appalling racial abuse on social media. And now, he’s walking away. This is always the aim of the bigots: To silence powerful voices. Side note: Shame on the ABC for not backing him up,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, ABC’s director of news Justin Stevens released a lengthy statement on the matter.
“Over many months, but particularly in recent days, Stan Grant has been subject to grotesque racist abuse, including threats to his safety,” he wrote.
“This has become particularly virulent since he appeared as part of the ABC’s coronation coverage. It is abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Sarah Ferguson was one of the first ABC staff members to come out in support of Grant. Picture: Supplied
He added that the broadcaster’s coverage was not at Grant’s instigation.
“He was not the instigator of the program. He was asked to participate as a Wiradjuri man to discuss his own family’s experience and the role of the monarchy in Australia in the context of Indigenous history,” he said.
“It is part of the ABC’s role to facilitate such important conversations, however confronting and uncomfortable, and to reflect the diversity of perspectives.
“The timing of this important discussion in the lead-up to the event has resulted in a strong response from some viewers. This is regrettable.”
‘Disgusting’: ABC peers erupt over Grant exitStan’s sad reason for standing aside
There were more than 1000 complaints about the ABC’s coverage of the coronation.
Grant’s resignation comes less than a year after being made the permanent host of the network’s current affairs talk show Q+A. He has decided not to return after Monday evening’s program.