Sam’s furious response to racism claims
Sam Armytage has addressed the ongoing controversy relating to a 2018 Sunrise segment, where one commentator suggested a second stolen generation was needed.
The Sunrise host has found herself at the centre of a social media storm this past week after a 2015 clip from the breakfast show, where Armytage interviews bi-racial twins, went viral.
Yesterday, a human rights legal firm also announced it planned to sue Armytage, Channel 7 and commentator Prue MacSween over the 2018 Aboriginal adoption segment.
Addressing the new lawsuit on social media, Armytage said she had been dogged by "tens of thousands" of threats over the past week.
"I've attached a few of the tens of thousands of threats I've received over the past week, mainly from people who claim they wish to spread peace," Armytage wrote.
"Most use violence towards me, some towards my dog Banjo. There is no place for racism in our country, our media or our hearts.
"There should also be no place for violence or threats."
In the collection of pictures, one commenter writes "prepare to experience death" while another calls her a "white f**king sl*t" and a "racist piece of sh*t".
In a lengthy private message, another person said the nation is "waiting" for her to take her own life.
Just one of many, many messages I’ve received from strangers this week... pic.twitter.com/KonmgQQ7ss— Samantha Armytage (@sam_armytage) June 12, 2020
The 2018 "hot topics" segment on Sunrise triggered a number of protests and lawsuits against the breakfast show.
During the segment, which followed news a two-year-old Aboriginal girl had been raped in the Northern Territory, commentator Prue MacSween floated the idea of a second stolen generation.
"Just like the first stolen generation where a lot of kids were taken for their wellbeing, we need to do it again," MacSween said on the program.
In her post today, Armytage said despite most of the backlash falling on her, she was not the one who suggested the idea.
"(The segment) covered comments by a government minister calling for new adoption laws following the rape of a two year old girl in the Northern Territory," she wrote.
"I was completely horrified & sickened by the incident (I still am) and ANY act of child abuse or neglect toward ANY child. We discussed the topic because it was front page news that day.
"AT NO STAGE DID I SUGGEST A SECOND STOLEN GENERATION."
Armytage also addressed the defamation case brought against Sunrise after the same segment included blurred footage of the Yirrakala community.
The community sued Channel Seven for breach of privacy, breach of confidence, racial discrimination and breach of Australian consumer law.
"The media regulator ruled Sunrise 'breached' the rules. Sunrise ran a follow-up segment involving indigenous experts. Sunrise apologised unreservedly and has generously compensated those people whose blurred images were shown in the segment," Armytage said.
The Sunrise host also addressed the recent resurfacing of a 2015 clip, where Armytage said "good on her" in relation to the white twin's fairer skin.
"Media reports about this have also mentioned another segment I did, back in 2015, about bi-racial twins. Anyone who actually watches that video can clearly see I was being self deprecating and was commenting on my own Irish heritage and troublesome pale skin," Armytage said.
"The twins involved agreed. My words may have been clumsy but they were certainly NOT racist."
The racial vilification case announced yesterday is being led by human rights legal firm Susan Moriarty and Associates, which in a statement said the eight Aboriginal complainants were "forced" to take their case to the Federal Court after settlement discussions collapsed.
Indigenous elder Aunty Rhonda, who is leading the complaint, said the group just wanted "accountability and equality".
"This nationwide broadcast by Channel Seven in March 2018 was another symbol of national shame and another appalling example of the deeply entrenched virus of racism that still plagues white platforms of privilege in this country," she said.
"Channel Seven's subsequent disingenuous downcast eyes and 'we're so sorry' murmurs, after we protested and their racism was called out, mean nothing to us."
BREAKING: Channel 7, Samantha Armytage and Prue McSween to be sued in Federal Court for Racial Vilification pic.twitter.com/HR4q9IbvXt— Bizzi Lavelle (@IndigenousX) June 11, 2020
Dozens of protesters chanted outside Seven'sSydney studio in March 2018 in the days after the segment.
At the time, the breakfast show was slammed for seemingly going to extraordinary lengths to hide it from their audience.
As the crowd - and volume level - grew, producers closed soundproof blinds in the studio, and broadcast old overlay of the show's Martin Place backdrop behind the hosts.
The breakfast show was also hit by protests a month after the segment when Sunrise filmed its show on the Gold Coast during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Sunrise set on Surfers Paradise beach was completely open, allowing dozens of protesters to gather behind, forcing the hosts to address the criticism.
"We support and respect anyone being able to protest and get their view. Happy to have them here, and to express their view, but we have to be a bit careful with language and aggression," host David Koch explained as the protest grew louder behind him.
"As regular viewers would know, we have lots of families and kids here. It's school holidays in Queensland, it's the Commonwealth Games, and while we respect everybody's right to protest ... there are a lot of families on holidays."
"We have to be very careful with some of the language going to air. I do want to point out that the original segment that sparked this was that children are at risk, not about land rights ... just keep that in mind," Armytage added.
Originally published as Sam's furious response to racism claims