ABC staff walking off job over Grant

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Staff at the ABC have staged a walk out over the exit of Q+A host Stan Grant — who is leaving the broadcaster over racist abuse.

Dozens of staff from the broadcaster’s Sydney and Melbourne offices left their desks on Monday at 2.30pm in support of Grant, who announced his resignation last week.

“ABC staff are walking out in support of Stan this afternoon,” ABC staffer Dee Jefferson tweeted.

“Stan’s experience of racist abuse is shared by so many colleagues. Listening is the smallest part of what we can do to help clean up this mess.”

Fellow ABC host Patricia Karvelas tweeted this afternoon saying “#istandwithstan #werejectracism”.

Co-host of ABC News Breakfast Virginia Trioli tweeted using the same hashtags and tagged ABC Melbourne and ABC TV.

MEAA organiser Tyron Butson shared images of a sizeable crowd of employees that gathered in solidarity of Grant on Monday afternoon.

Stan Grant last week annoucned he would be walking away from the broadcaster.Stan Grant last week annoucned he would be walking away from the broadcaster.

“Huge turn out of ABC with MEAA members standing with Stan Grant. The vile racism that has been thrown at him and other Indigenous staff members recently is not on #istandwithstan #werejectracism,” his tweet read.

Family of Grant were at the protest in Sydney and, according to Guardian reporter Natasha May, used a megaphone to thank the crowd for their support.

Insiders host David Speers tweeted Monday afternoon saying, “Racism is abhorrent. I stand with my friend and colleague Stan Grant”.

There was a significant turnout of staff outside the Melbourne office. Picture: TwitterThere was a significant turnout of staff outside the Melbourne office. Picture: Twitter

His tweet included a photo of himself holding a printed out piece of paper with the “#istandwithstan #werejectracism” hashtags.

Triple J Hack reporter Kimberly Price tweeted a video of a group of ABC employees chanting “I stand with Stan” and “we reject racism” while holding sheets of paper displaying the same.

Reporter Casey Briggs joined the chorus of employees throwing support behind Grant.

“ABC staff stand in solidarity with Stan Grant and against absolute drongos #IStandWithStan,” he tweeted.

Digital producer at ABC’s News Breakfast Anthony Furci was among other staff to tweet support, as was Dylan Anderson from ABC’s News Operations team.

“It was hard to go through the same sex marriage postal vote as a queer man. Now I worry for the mental safety of my fellow mob going into the Voice Referendum. This rhetoric isn’t new, but how we go forward can be,” he tweeted.

ABC employees working regionally also took a break from work in honour of their peer.

“Took a break while out on a job with these legends to stand against racism and in support of the irreplaceable Stan Grant and all First Nations journalists #IStandwithStan #werejectracism,” ABC researcher Charlotte King said.

Federal political reporter Dana Morse tweeted, “Enough is enough” and shared a photo outside Canberra’s Parliament House.

Vanessa Hughes, ABC’s Classic Drive presenter, said it was sadly unsurprising to hear what Grant had experienced.

ABC Asia-Pacific newsroom presenter and journalist Jordan Fennell also shared her support.

“Backing Stan and all my indigenous, first nations, and POC colleagues who face horrid racism both inside the ABC and outside of it. The ABC must do better, and it has to be more than reactionary emails and lip service. #IstandwithStan #WeRejectRacism,” she tweeted.

Q+A social media producer Neryssa Azlan directed a tweet and non-Indigenous journalists.

“On my way to work since I start and finish late on show nights … but I hope non-Indigenous journos who are out supporting Stan in any capacity take this time to self-reflect and figure out ways how we ourselves have been complicit and how we can be better,” she wrote.

ABC staff in Victoria’s Gippsland also tweeted their support, along with those in Brisbane, Queensland, and the East Timor city of Dili.

The Q+A host shocked Australia last week when he announced he had chosen to “walk away” from his job at the ABC because of the “racism” he experienced.

Grant’s resignation came less than a year after being made the permanent host of the network’s current affairs talk show.

Grant, a Wiradjuri, Gurrawin and Dharawal man, said he was standing down due to the racial abuse – and lack of public support – he received after he criticised the monarchy during the ABC’s coverage of the King’s coronation earlier this month.

“This year, the stakes are higher. There is a referendum on an indigenous Voice to parliament, and I am not alone in feeling judged. This is an Australian judgment of us. Such is politics,” he explained.

“But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I have had enough.”

Immediately after Grant’s announcement, support from his colleagues at ABC and media peers came pouring in.

ABC staffers will partake in a walk-out Monday afternoon in solidarity with Grant.ABC staffers will partake in a walk-out Monday afternoon in solidarity with Grant.

7.30’s Sarah Ferguson tweeted that “the abuse directed at him is disgusting. There are no words adequate to the horror we feel at this. Stan is brilliant and cherished”.

Journalist Tracey Spicer immediately responded and wrote, “This is always the aim of bigots to silence powerful voices”.

Long-running ABC morning breakfast host Trioli tweeted: “I’m appalled and saddened that Stan Grant, a brilliant broadcaster and thinker, has been forced from the ever-crucial contest of ideas.

“If this country can’t have a civil debate about recognition, racism and the legacy of colonialism then we are lost. I hope he returns soon,” she wrote.

Just 12 hours after her original tweet, Trioli provided an update which revealed the magnitude of the racism Grant was contending with.

“Since tweeting in support of Stan Grant my timeline has flooded with the most awful racist sh** and inflammatory Voice disinformation. Very few of these accounts actually follow me, so what evil Elon also draws this stuff to my account?” she wrote.

Interestingly Trioli’s tweet didn’t silence people.

“Maybe you are living in a bubble,” someone tweeted in response,

“You’re attention seeking, as usual. Stan is gone because he didn’t rate. That’s the bottom line, people stopped watching,” another wrote.

“Welcome to social media …” someone else tweeted.

Grant said the abuse he faced had become unbearable. Picture: ABCGrant said the abuse he faced had become unbearable. Picture: ABC

The response to Trioli’s tweet in support of Grant has seemingly unearthed the harsh reality of what Grant was referring to when he announced he’d “had enough”.

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.”

Stevens said Grant was one of a range of panellists who appeared during the Coronation coverage “at the invitation of the ABC”.

“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.”

There were more than 1000 complaints about the coverage.

Stevens went on to praise Grant as “one of Australia’s best and most respected journalists and broadcasters”.

“The ABC stands by him and condemns the attacks directed towards him,” he said.

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He also made it clear that any racial threats towards Grant would be taking seriously and sent to the police.

“Any complaints, criticism – or vitriol – regarding the coverage should be directed to me, not to him,” he said.

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