Protesters call on Network 10 to sack Kerri-Anne Kennerley after alleged on-air racism


The protest comes after panellist Yumi Stynes announced she had cancelled her scheduled appearance on the program.

Protesters gathered outside the Network 10 studios in Pyrmont have demanded veteran presenter Kerri-Anne Kennerley be sacked after an on-air fight with Yumi Stynes. 

The protests came hours after Stynes cancelled her scheduled appearance on Studio 10 after accusing Kennerley of racism.

On Monday's program, Kennerley said 'Invasion Day' protesters were not doing anything about sexual violence in remote Indigenous communities.

Kerri-Anne Kennerly has been labelled "racist" by Studio 10 co-panellist Yumi Stynes after a discussion about 'Invasion Day' protests.
Kerri-Anne Kennerly has been labelled "racist" by Studio 10 co-panellist Yumi Stynes after a discussion about 'Invasion Day' protests.
Studio 10

"Has anyone of them been out to the outback where children, babies, 5-year-olds are being raped. Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education. What have you done? Zippo," Kennerley said, to which Stynes responded: "I'm sure that's not even faintly true Kerri-Anne and you are sounding quite racist now", eliciting boos from the audience.

"I'm offended by that Yumi," Kennerley responded. 

"Just because I have a point of view Yumi, doesn't mean I am racist."

On Tuesday morning, protesters held signs stating "KAK is racist" and "Kerri-Anne KKKennerley", while on Twitter people used the hashtag #sackKAK. 

Black Comedy actor and protestor Elizabeth Wymarra encouraged people to join the protest.

"We've got to stop this discrimination on Australian mainstream TV. That is why we are here," she said.

"If that means Kerri-Anne Kennerley needs to be taken off-air, then so be it.

"From one woman of colour to another Yumi, mate we're with you. So I hope that gives you strength my sister."

Late on Monday night, Stynes, who emceed the Sydney Women's March earlier this month, announced she would not be appearing on Studio 10 the following morning via Instagram, where she said the decision was "not because what happened today between Kerri-Anne and I."

"I am feeling stable and calm and like I am on the right side of history. Everything is ok," she wrote, alongside a photo of ingredients and cooking tools that she said were to be brought in to the show for a cooking demonstration.

The on-air clash has drawn widespread outrage, with former Studio 10 executive Rob McKnight slamming Stynes for throwing Kennerley "under a bus".

In an article titled Today is Exactly Why I Never Let Yumi Stynes on Studio 10, Mr McKnight, who worked on the morning show between 2013 and 2017, said:

"That’s not to say heated debates aren’t a good thing on morning TV. Ita Buttrose and Jessica Rowe had some pearlers during my time there, but they were always done with respect and never ended up in name-calling with labels like ‘racist’ being thrown about.

"Morning television is like having a cup of coffee with a friend, viewers do not want to watch world war three erupt." 

Meanwhile, others commended Stynes for her response.

On Tuesday morning, a snap protest against Kerri-Anne Kennerley's comments took place at Channel 10's Pyrmont studio.

"Calling out Kerri-Anne and the mainstream media who have no representation of our people," the protest organisers wrote on Facebook.

On twitter @woollogirl uploads protestors gather outside Channel 10
On twitter @woollogirl uploads protestors gather outside Channel 10

"Kerri-Anne your racist remarks to Yumi over the Invasion/Australia day protesters are ill-informed and have no factual back up."

Inside the building on Tuesday, Studio 10 said they wanted to continue the discussion on changing the date and invited former Greens MP Lidia Thorpe and Alice Springs councillor and Country Liberal candidate Jacinta Nampijinpa on to the panel - both Indigenous women.

At one point, Ms Thorpe said Kennerley should give up some of her "white privilege", eliciting calls of racism from the panel. 

It's the second time this month that the debate around changing the date of Australia Day has sparked controversy on commercial television.

On January 17, Today's new entertainment reporter and Gamilaroi woman Brooke Boney made an impassioned speech on the program about why she does not celebrate on January 26, provoking a slew of backlash and support on social media

While emphasising she was "not trying to tell anyone else what they should be doing or how they should be celebrating", she said she couldn't "separate the 26th of January from the fact that" her "brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school".

The Invasion Day march in Melbourne.
The Invasion Day march in Melbourne.

This weekend tens of thousands of Australians joined 'Invasion Day' events on Australia Day, with huge marches taking place in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. 

The marchers called on Australia to change the date of its national day, but also demanded we "change the nation".

Australia Day, a national public holiday, is currently held on the anniversary of the official declaration of British sovereignty on the land that would become Australia in 1788.

But over the past few years, there has been growing calls to change the date of the celebration to be more inclusive of Indigenous Australians, whom often view it as a day of mourning as the date marked the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous Australia.

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