Channel Nine is at the centre of a social media furore over a vaccination PSA that is copping widespread criticism for its apparent total lack of diversity.
The ad, shared across Nine’s official social media channels late yesterday, serves as a general PSA urging Australians from all walks of life to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to “get our lives back to normal.”
The 60-second spot features a string of Nine on-air talent, including the likes of Scott Cam, Hamish Blake, Andy Lee, Liz Hayes, Karl Stefanovic, Allison Langdon, Georgie Gardner, Richard Wilkins, Eddie McGuire, and a string of others.
If you think you’ve spotted a bit of a running theme amongst those names, you’d be about white.
— Channel9 (@Channel9) May 31, 2021
In the hours since it was posted, prominent names across social media have harangued the ad; pointing out that, while the message of the PSA itself carried good intentions, the cast features zero people of colour.
When they say “Our” shot they really mean theirs, not ours. https://t.co/NIwGE2WvSC
— Senator Briggs (@Briggs) June 1, 2021
— Nazeem Hussain (@nazeem_hussain) June 1, 2021
I applaud what @Channel9 is trying to do. How many people took part or approved it? Social media team, publicity team,on air talent, production etc. Many opportunities for someone to notice the glaring obvious. Welcome to blind spots folks. I trust it’s that & not white supremacy
— Antoinette Lattouf (@antoinette_news) May 31, 2021
honestly it’s super sad that only white people are afflicted by this virus. thinking of them and hoping they get through it https://t.co/yFgpypxx4t
— Jennine #SaveSheikhJarrah (@jennineak) June 1, 2021
Looks like zero people of color. https://t.co/PVZxNiLndU
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) June 1, 2021
feeling conflicted bc i want aussies to get vaccinated but my god i forgot how white australian tv is https://t.co/xkfdaE4pjp
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 1, 2021
Jfc channel 9, how many hands did this important community messaging pass through without anybody picking up that it's ALL WHITE PEOPLE?? https://t.co/wRdnihx9ol
— Marieke Hardy (@mariekehardy) May 31, 2021
Not only was every single female Channel Nine presenter white, but she was also blonde and very likely of Anglo descent. They were also coiffed and styled the same. Some legend at Channel Nine had decided … this is the look, Australia.
— Jan Fran (@Jan__Fran) June 1, 2021
Across today, Brooke Boney‘s name has been trending on Twitter as users questioned why Nine couldn’t even find a way to include the Today Show star, a proud Gamilaroi woman, in the ad.
Nine’s ad comes on the heels of a sweeping – and fairly damning – Media Diversity report that found a staggering 75% of Australia’s on-screen talent comes from an Anglo-Celtic background, while just 6% is either Indigenous or non-European.
At the time of the study’s release in August 2020, Media Diversity Australia director Antionette Lattouf asserted “It is abundantly clear that Australian television news and current affairs media doesn’t reflect its audience and this has a flow on effect as to which stories are covered and how they are framed and told.”
MDA Chair Isabel Lo also added “Unless we see change in both the composition of leadership teams and talent on screen — our media will remain disconnected from audiences whose engagement is already waning.”
In a statement provided to PEDESTRIAN.TV, Michael Healy, 9Network’s Director of Television, said: “As we are in the midst of a global pandemic, 9Network is continuing to support community awareness regarding COVID and to be informed about the vaccination, this is our shot for Australia to be connected again. It is an internal initiative and there will be a number of promos rolled out during this campaign.”