The ABC Is Now Claiming It Didn’t Actually Fire Antoinette Lattouf In ‘Very Strange’ Backflip


In a surprising turn of events, the ABC has backflipped on its assertions that it fired journalist Antoinette Lattouf over a social media violation, according to her legal representation.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers — the firm representing Lattouf — said on Monday that the ABC is trying to have Lattouf’s unlawful termination case thrown out all together on the grounds that Lattouf wasn’t terminated.

It said the ABC advised Josh Bornstein, who is representing Lattouf, that she is “not entitled” to make an unlawful termination application to the Fair Work Commission, and that it is seeking to have the entire case dismissed.

Bornstein said the move was “very strange”.

“We have sought a detailed explanation from the ABC for its about face,” he said.

“If the ABC pursues this jurisdictional challenge, it is likely that evidence will need to be called from senior management.”

Antoinette Lattouf was allegedly fired three days into her five-day ABC Sydney radio gig in December after she shared a video from Human Rights Watch. The video reported that Israel was using starvation as a weapon in Gaza — a story which the ABC also reported on.

On the same day, a group of lobbyists who refer to themselves as “Lawyers for Israel” threatened the ABC with legal action if it didn’t fire her.

The ABC filed its defence in the Fair Work Commission last week, in which it reportedly denied it sacked Lattouf over her political opinions. Instead, it asserted that Lattouf failed to comply with explicit orders not to share “controversial” content to her social media.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose responded to emails from pro-Israel lobbyists the day before Lattouf was let go from her ABC Radio Sydney gig.

“It was clear on the evidence provided in the ABC’s response to Ms Lattouf’s claim that she had not been terminated,” a spokesperson for the ABC told PEDESTRIAN.TV, referring to the fact that the broadcaster never actually used terms like ‘terminated’ or ‘sacked’ in its defence.

“The jurisdictional objection was formalised as soon as it became clear the matter had not resolved.”

Lattouf has slammed the ABC’s stance as “a taxpayer funded legal game of recent invention.”

“If I wasn’t sacked, what was it?” she said in a statement.

“Was I unshackled? Liberated? Untied? Subjected to workplace imbalance correction?

“I’m keen to hear all the creative euphemisms that will be used to try and explain this backflip to me, ABC staff as well as Australians who are very concerned about their public broadcaster.”

Lattouf is seeking a detailed public apology and compensation for harm to reputation and for distress and humiliation in her Fair Work case, as well as an order that she is offered a role back on air.

She’s also seeking an order to be put back on radio, as a show to staff that the ABC does actually operate independently and impartially — and not at the whims of pro-Israel lobbyists.