Protesters assembled outside Channel 10‘s Sydney studios this morning in response to yesterday’s edition of Studio 10, in which host Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggested Invasion Day march participants had overlooked or failed to act on sexual abuse in Indigenous communities.
Kennerley made headlines yesterday after asking if any Invasion Day demonstrators had ever “been out to the Outback, where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped?
“Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education. What have you done?”
That statement was quickly rebuffed as “sounding quite racist” by co-panellist Yumi Stynes, who challenged Kennerley for “drawing a straight line” between the marches, their Indigenous organisers and participants, and abuse in Outback communities.
“You’re implying those 5000 protesters, none of whom you know personally, are all lazy and idle,” Stynes said.
“You’re asking if any of them have ever done anything as though it’s clear they haven’t.”
— Studio 10 (@Studio10au) January 27, 2019
Online, commenters challenged Kennerley for equating the alleged inaction of Invasion Day demonstrators with sexual abuse, and appearing to place more value on her feelings than the potential ramifications of her statement.
Hey, #KAK. I live and work in a small country community but took the hours drive to Brisbane to March amongst the other 7 thousands attended. It’a not just city folk marching- we had people travel from Moree, Palm Island, NT, & the TSI! 👣🙌🏾🖤💛❤️ #changethenation #AlwaysWillBe pic.twitter.com/LizO1A0KJy
— Freeda Roberts (@Freeda_Roberts) January 28, 2019
Viewers also pointed out that yet another non-Indigenous TV show host was able to express her viewpoint to the Australian people without an immediate fact-check or right to reply from Indigenous voices on the panel.
That online opposition today manifested as a physical demonstration. Protesters took to the network’s Pyrmont studios this morning to voice their opposition to Kennerley’s statement and to express their support for Stynes.
Taking to Periscope from outside the studio, writer and Black Comedy actor Elizabeth Wymarra said “We’ve got to stop this shit. We’ve got to stop this discrimination on Australian mainstream TV.
“This is why we’re here. And if that means Kerri-Anne Kennerley needs to be taken off air, then so be it.”
— Elizabeth (no blue tick) Wymarra 😂 (@woollogirl) January 28, 2019
Stynes, who was scheduled to appear on today’s edition of the show, announced last night that she would instead be taking the time off.
Alice Springs councillor Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and former Victorian MP Lidia Thorpe, both of whom are Indigenous, are set to appear on the show this morning.