Gronk Red Symons Seriously Asks Podcast Host Beverley Wang “Are You Yellow?”

UPDATE: ABC has seemingly pulled the link to the audio. We’ll keep you updated on this one. 

Before. Via ABC.

After. Via ABC.

Weird and wild shit goes down all the time in the world of podcasts, but it’s not every day that a piece of audio content produced by Radio National unabashedly fields questionable – if not fully problematic – takes on race. 

Beverley Wang’s new podcast It’s Not A Race last night posted an unedited offshoot interview between her and Red Symons, presenter of ABC Melbourne Breakfast. It was bizarre, at best. 

Symons was invited to have the chat on account of the fact he appeared on Hey Hey It’s Saturday‘s infamous blackface episode. That very, very bad piece of television content was extensively covered in the first episode of Wang’s podcast, which aired late last month. 
So, the groundwork was set for the two to have a frank discussion about perceptions of race in modern Australian society. The thing is, Symons started things off by saying he had the idea for an ABC podcast focussing on similar issues to Wang’s, and that he’d call it… What’s The Deal With Asians?

When presented with that absolute howler of a title, Wang invited Symons to share his opinion. After saying the question was a “just a useful, general question about the nature of our culture” that could spur discussion, he asked Wang “are you yellow?”
Wang would have been forgiven for noping out then and there, but she persisted with Symons’ baffling line of enquiry. He went on to assume the surname ‘Wang’ meant the host’s family was from China, when they’ve lived in Taiwan for 400 years. (Wang herself was raised in Canada, before moving to Australia in 2009.)

Symonds then asked which of Cantonese or Mandarin they speak in Taiwan – the answer is Taiwanese with a smattering of Mandarin, btw – before Wang retorted “in Canada where I’m from, they speak English and French.”

In one of the podcast’s tensest moments, he said she was probably from the west coast of Canada. Wang asked why he thought that, only to be told “because it’s closer to Asia.” She actually had to tell Symonds to not get so defensive. 

It spiralled out from there, as Symons asked her if Beverley was really her birth name, and called the Hey Hey incident “alleged” blackface. Again, all of this was pushed through the ABC’s official channels.

You better believe Symons’ backwards BS has been roundly rebuked by damn near everyone who’s had the misfortune of listening to it:

Wang herself commented after the interview went live, echoing the sentiment that this kind of shit happens all the time.

Fortunately, It’s Not A Race is just getting started, so there’s still plenty of time to field guests who aren’t so massively bung.

Source: / Radio National.
Photo: Robert Prezioso.