More than 4,000 people complained that an Australian TV host’s comment about 18-year-old bi-racial twins was “inappropriate, extremely offensive and very racist.”
Australian TV host Samantha Armytage apologized last month after the online petition for her comment seemingly congratulating the white twin for having light skin.
Armytage said earlier this year on the Channel 7 show Sunrise:
“The Aylmer twins come from a mixed-race family in the U.K. Maria has taken after her half-Jamaican mum with dark skin, brown eyes and curly, dark hair, but Lucy got her dad’s fair skin — good on her! — along with straight red hair and blue eyes.”
Armytage apologized April 28 telling Daily Mail Australia “I would be mortified if anyone thought I would say or think anything racist. It’s not in my nature. To anyone who I might have offended, I’m sorry.”
Armytage’s producer Michael Pell described the incident as a “misunderstanding.”
“We are making this statement to avoid further misunderstanding about Sam’s comment on Sunrise,” Pell is quoted as saying. “Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment. We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.”
The person who started the Change.org petition, Jay Fith, told the Daily Mail “Thanks to sam for her apology.”
One of the twins, Lucy Aylmer, said in a Facebook post her family “took no offence” to the comment.
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Aylmer went on:
“We believe she DID NOT MEANT THIS AS A RACIAL COMMENT and we have taken NO PERSONAL OFFENCE to it. We do not think it was necessary for her to apologize and I apologize to her for any distress it may have caused. We know what Samantha meant and that’s all that matters to us so we would appreciate it if people would STOP MAKING THIS OUR PROBLEM.”
Previously, Channel 7 argued Armytage was making a self-deprecating joke. “‘She frequently jokes about the fair skin that runs in her family and difficult it can be to manage in extreme environments.”
When the New York Post reported on the twins last month, they credited the story and their photos to Worldwide Features and Barcroft Media. Barcroft is a media agency based in the UK, according to an article from Ad Week.
“We sign [sources] up on a contract that usually gets some benefit for them. Some people want financial share, some people want promotion,” Barcroft’s London editor Alex Morris told Ad Week in a 2011 interview. Photos on the Daily Mail’s website credit Martin Spaven or World Wide Features.
iMediaEthics has asked Barcroft Media if it had any payment or contract with the family. We haven’t heard back. We’ve also asked Worldwide Features about how it came across the Aylmer story.
We’ve also reached out to the Facebook accounts for the twins for comment.