Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio host Red Symons asked a Taiwanese-Canadian journalist, Beverley Wang,”Are you yellow?” Wang, who also works for the ABC, was being interviewed about her ABC podcast focused on “race, racism, identity, culture, difference.” It is titled, “It’s not a Race.”
Symons’ ABC Radio interview with Wang began by saying he wanted to have a radio segment called “What’s the deal with Asians?” Then he asked her “are they all the same,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported. He also called Wang the wrong name during the interview and asked if she was Chinese.
The ABC apologized and unpublished the full recording of the radio interview, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Similarly, Red Symons also apologized on June 19’s program for coming “across as a racist” and inappropriate. The ABC is reviewing the incident.
Symons apologized June 19 on the air during his program, stating in part: “I came across as a racist and I was wrong in the way I conducted the interview. This is not who I am but I acknowledge on this occasion I caused offence and hurt, not only to Beverley but also to our listeners. I offer my sincerest apologies, we need to talk about these issues and be careful how we consider them.” Below, listen to his apology.
ABC also apologized and said it was reviewing the matter, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “A review of the editorial processes around this content and its use is in progress. ABC Radio apologises for the content going to air.” iMediaEthics has written to the ABC to ask if there will be any disciplinary action and if anyone besides Symons approved the questions he asked Wang.
iMediaEthics contacted the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the broadcast regulator in Australia, to ask if it has received any complaints over the interview. ACMA told iMediaEthics it has received one complaint as of now, which has been referred to the ABC. Its website indicates anyone can complain using the ACMA form for broadcast complaints here. If a complaint is about a broadcaster breaking the code of practice, the public must first complain to the broadcaster directly before contacting ACMA, which identities itself as an “independent statutory authority.”
Below, see tweets about the controversial interview.
— beverley wang (@beverleywang) June 15, 2017
Chrissakes. When a leading ABC radio personality asks an Asian colleague "are you yellow?" we have a problem https://t.co/cS2ms3mxLb
— Marc Fennell (@MarcFennell) June 15, 2017
"Are you yellow?" "Are they all the same?" On-air interview by leading Australian ABC radio host, white male, of another host, Asian female https://t.co/Q7kvwqMVdr
— Suki Kim (@sukisworld) June 19, 2017
"Are you yellow?" – It's the questions, not the airing of them, that the ABC and Red Symons need to apologise for https://t.co/l08QE34tmc
— Clare Rawlinson (@clarerawlinson) June 16, 2017
Only a dismissal is appropriate for this. Not sure if HR dept in the media industry has ever had any decent amount of authority. Sad.
— Mrs. SJG (@jengwho) June 16, 2017
— Shuang Hu (@ShuangHuAus) June 18, 2017