Antoinette Lattouf Shares Why She ‘Wasn’t Relieved’ By Decision On Her ABC Sacking: ‘I Was So Sad’

Journalist Antoinette Lattouf has opened up about the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) ruling that she was fired by the ABC, stating that rather than feeling relieved, she felt “so sad” and “so angry”.

In her podcast The Antoinettes, Lattouf recounted her mixed emotions about the ruling when asked about it by her co-host Azure Antoinette.

The journalist and author shared that when the result came in earlier than she expected on June 3, she was “overcome” with bittersweet emotions of sadness and anger, despite it being the outcome she was hoping for.

“We got [the result] early and I got my phone, and when I saw it I did the most Arab woman thing possible: I fell to the ground and started wailing,” Lattouf said.

“I was so overcome. And then for hours afterwards, probably for the next 12 hours, I couldn’t regulate my emotions. I was still shaking for 12 hours. I still felt I had this fight-or-flight response.”

The 51-page decision from the FWC that Lattouf was in fact fired by the national broadcaster last December means she can now pursue an unlawful termination lawsuit against the ABC in the Federal Court.

“Originally the ABC had said that they sacked me over an Instagram post and that I breached social media policy. And then they were like, ‘No, we didn’t sack her. We just gave her directions and a soundtrack to the exit sign and told her never to return,’” she explained.

Antoinette Lattouf was fired by the ABC after she shared a post from the Human Rights Watch to her Instagram Story, which the broadcaster said breached its social media policy. The post reported the Israeli government was using the starvation of civilians as a weapon of war in the Gaza conflict. Israel has denied this accusation.

The FWC dismissed the ABC’s argument that it did not sack Lattouf three days in to a week-long casual presenter role on ABC Radio Sydney because it paid her for all five shifts. Lattouf’s submission argued she was unlawfully fired due to her political views and her Lebanese heritage. The FWC decision did not make a ruling on the reason for her sacking.

In a statement released after the FWC’s decision, the ABC said it would continue to defend itself in the Federal Court.

“The ABC has not acted on the basis of Ms Lattouf’s political opinion, race and/or national extraction or social origin. In response to the claim before the Commission, the ABC maintains that it acted on the basis of a belief that Ms Lattouf had not complied with a direction in relation to her use of social media,” read the statement.

In Lattouf’s podcast episode about the ordeal, released on Wednesday, she expanded on the complexity of her feelings surrounding the decision.

“A lot of people are like, ‘You must be so relieved, you must be so happy.’ But interestingly, I wasn’t relieved. I was so sad,” shared Lattouf.

“And that sadness was also – I was so angry. I was angry. What an enormous waste of time and energy and taxpayer dollars.”

Antoinette Lattouf explained how going through the strenuous legal process, and being forced to fund the case herself in a fight against a giant institution like the ABC, left her disheartened in the legal system’s ability to provide equality of opportunity to everyone.

“All these months have been spent over this jurisdictional argument of what constitutes a sacking. And I guess what made me furious is that it made me realise that the court and the legal system is designed for people with big pockets,” she said. 

“It’s designed for big institutions, not individuals who have no steady income like me. I’m using crowdfunding and the generosity of strangers to pay for my legal fees.”

Antoinette Lattouf has received over $110K in donations from supporters on her GoFundMe page.

Additionally, Lattouf highlighted how she is angry that displaying what she believed to be journalistic integrity resulted in her termination.

“I’m potentially going to be forever framed as, you know, the naughty problematic employee because I stood up for myself. And a journalist is meant to stand up and expose abuses of power,” she stated.

“A journalist is meant to report without fear or favour. And those very characteristics that I’ve displayed in this, I feel are going to be marked against me for the rest of my life.”

On her podcast, Antoinette Lattouf shared that most of her anger was at the fact that all of this felt like a massive waste of attention.

“I was also angry that all of this is just a huge distraction from what is actually happening, and that is the unfolding genocide in Gaza and how hard our media has been trying to cover it up or to sanitise it,” Lattouf stated.

“I’m not relieved, is the short answer. I’m not happy and I’m not relieved.”

The Israeli government strongly denies all accusations of genocide and war crimes. 

[Image: Instagram / Getty]