SBS Pulls Promo For ‘Struggle Street’ Documentary After Community Outrage

SBS has pulled a promotional ad for its upcoming documentary series Struggle Street, after local residents and participants complained that it amounts to an exploitative and insulting portrayal of their lives. 

Struggle Street, filmed in and around the blue collar Mt Druitt area over six months, follows the day-to-day lives of 10 people, and promises “raw honesty and stories of family love” in the face of “overwhelming challenges.”
The series debuts on Wednesday May 6, but Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali, who viewed the first episode early, has slammed it, calling it “publicly-funded poverty porn” and an “attack on western Sydney.”
Given the Real Housewives Of The Western Suburbs tone of the below promo, uploaded to YouTube after SBS yanked it from their official site, he would appear to have a point:
Bali told News Limited that he is especially concerned about the show’s vilification of vulnerable people and those with mental illnesses. “Local participants are outraged,” he said. “These residents feel they were lied to about what this documentary was about.”
Peta Kennedy, one of the key participants, is also angry about her portrayal. “When we signed up for it we thought it was supposed to be about people’s struggles and going through their problems and getting back on their feet, but this is awful,” she said.
“I don’t know how I will manage when it does go to air,” she continued. “It is sending the wrong message about Mt Druitt. It makes us look like bogans and that’s not who we are. If I knew I was going to be portrayed like this, I wouldn’t have agreed.”
She is also furious at the portrayal of her husband Ashley Kennedy, who suffers from dementia, and who lost his truck driver’s license after he suffered a stroke. 
Per reports in Fairfax, a group of community leaders, including Bali, have written to SBS and demanded that the series be pulled until the people depicted in it can view all three episodes for themselves.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said that the network would pull the above promo as a “gesture of goodwill”, but has not yet said whether participants will be allowed to see the program ahead of time.  
Image via SMS