Former Triple J presenter Gen Fricker has flamed her former employer, telling them to “stop trading off as a progressive brand because it’s not real.”
In a video posted to Instagram this evening, Fricker criticised the broadcaster for presenting themselves as allies to Indigenous and black Australians, while not calling out racist attitudes in the workplace.
“I think I need to say something because I’ve been complacent – because I’ve just been so beat down by it, and I didn’t say it before,” Fricker said. “But after seeing black tiles all over my feed and people sharing, you know, things about how the gatekeepers of the culture should be held accountable, like, I’m just going to put this out there.
“If you work at Triple J and you’re white, you’re part of the problem. And I don’t mean this – I mean, people can write this off as angry former worker, I don’t care, I have nothing to lose. And I’m also saying this because having chatted to people of colour who work at Triple J, with Triple J, want to be on Triple J, these are the discussions we are having. So here it is.
“The difference between being not racist and anti-racist is calling out that shit. And I say it all the time. But I don’t think you realise how lonely it was to be one of two brown people in those rooms, having to explain why maybe a white woman singing a language with no black people was a bit fucking problematic. Or having to ask white co-workers to stop doing African-American accents in the office, blaccent. Or, how fucking horrible it is to go into an office with a manager that has no problem recording a 30-minute long ‘demo-sketch’ of him prank-calling one of our co-workers doing an Indian accent, pretending to be an Indian call-centre worker. Like, yeah, maybe that was recorded a long time ago, but it’s been on the system for five years. I don’t know if it’s still there now but it was on there up until I left.
“The thing is, we try and say shit in the room about this but you just get tired. You get tired of having to fucking explain it all the time. And it would be really great if literally any of these people posting black tiles, posting tiles about how to support Indigenous people, black people, Black Lives Matter, literally did anything like that day-to-day. Like, that Indigenous ally tile is great and it’s awesome and I’m not going to diminish that work but post a fucking picture of the management team at Triple J and tell me that that comes from a real place. It’s not enough to just put black people, Indigenous people at the front – let them fucking absorb all the kinds of horrific shit that gets said to them by your audience – and then go, oh my work here is done, Like no.”
Fricker acknowledged her own privilege for being able to work at Triple J, for her education, and for being light-skinned.
She also applauded all the people of colour, the black people, and the Indigenous people attached to Triple J for still making music for the station. “I’m not talking to you because you know, ‘cos you’re in my DMs.”
“I don’t know, it starts with you,” Fricker said. “You’re the gatekeepers of our culture. You need to stop trading off as a progressive brand because it’s not real.
“And if you’re an employee and you’re there and you’re wondering if they’ll fire you for saying something, the odds are if you’re white and a presenter, they’re not going to fire you. It’d be far more damaging for them to fire you for speaking out about racism than it would be for you to speak out about racism.”
In an Instagram story posted after the video, Fricker had one final message.
“I’m gonna log off pretty soon but I just wanna save some time and say: don’t bother calling my manager and getting all pissy and asking her to tell me to take it down,” she wrote. “Like she said the last time, I don’t want to sit down and chat with you, I don’t work for you, I don’t care about your feelings being hurt. You’ve had years to make change and you sat on your hands and did nothing. I know you’ve been worried about the audio coming out for ages, but I’m giving you the chance to publicly apologise, take accountability and make change before I post it.”
Last November, Fricker announced she was leaving Triple J after five years.