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ABC discriminates against non-Anglo staff, says Antoinette Lattouf

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11 January 2024, The Australian, James Madden

Journalist Antoinette Lattouf, dumped in December from her fill-in presenter role on ABC radio after posting a series of inflammatory social media posts about the Israel-Hamas war, claims the ABC is an unsafe workplace, alleges she was sacked because of her ethnicity and says the taxpayer-funded broadcaster systemically discriminates against people of colour.

Lattouf was appointed to fill in for regular ABC Sydney mornings presenter Sarah Macdonald for the week prior to Christmas, but was sacked on December 20 after just her third program.

She lodged a Fair Work Commission application claiming she was unlawfully terminated from her employment for breaching the ABC’s social media policy – most likely relating to the posts that challenged the legitimacy of the “gas the Jews” footage taken outside Sydney’s Opera House late last year, and her claim that Israeli forces had committed rape.

On Monday, Lattouf, a Lebanese-Australian, formally expanded her FWC complaint. “I’m a big supporter of public broadcasting. I will always advocate for a well-funded, fair, independent and representative ABC. Our democracy is more enriched for it,” she said in a press release issued by her legal team. “This is why it is disheartening to not only witness the horrendous treatment of people of colour by the ABC … but now to personally – and so publicly – feel its wrath.

“Despite the ABC’s rhetoric about diversity and inclusion, it is currently an unsafe workplace for journalists who are people of colour. I’m aware of several diverse journalists who have either resigned or are on the brink of resigning because they are unfairly scrutinised and don’t believe their employer will back them.”

The press release, which describes Lattouf as “an award-winning journalist and diversity advocate”, also states she “was told by a manager that (ABC managing director) David Anderson had made the call to sack her, despite pushback from radio staff, many who were visibly emotional as she departed”. Lattouf’s lawyer, Josh Bornstein, said: “The claim has now been amended to reflect that Antoinette Lattouf alleges that she was sacked by the ABC because she expressed a political opinion and also because of her race.

“Since October 7 and the ensuing conflict in the Middle East, it has become notorious in the media industry that Arab and Muslim journalists are being intimidated, censored and sacked,” Mr Bornstein said.

“In this case we will show that the ABC has not sacked white journalists for expressing political opinion, even where those journalists worked in news and current affairs.”

The Australian asked Lattouf for specific examples of ABC staff being discriminated against because of their ethnicity, but did not hear back.

The ABC declined to comment.

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Article source: 11 January 2024, The Australian, James Madden

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000