A Current Affair’s social media post.
The executive producer of Nine’s A Current Affair claims the show was looking for positive stories after posting a call out for people to come forward with stories about using “cheap” Asian tradies on Facebook.
Grant Williams conceded the post, which asked for people’s experiences of Asian “painters, tilers, plasterers… What did you think? Did they do a good job, were they cheap” was “inappropriate” but claims the angle of the story was positive.
A Current Affair drew criticism in 2013 of its treatment of the Asian community with a story on what it claimed was an “All-Asian Mall” in Castle Hill – the segment was determined to be in breach of the Codes of Practice by media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
“I think what you can say to our detractors is that we are not as predictable or cliched as detractors would hope,” Williams told Mumbrella, this afternoon.
“We are actually doing a very positive story about how certain tradies and Korean painters, in particular, now identify themselves and their background as a marketing tool when seeking clientele.”
The Asian tradies post immediately drew criticism on social media as users asked if the angle of the story was negative and would vilify Asian tradespeople.
One of the social media posts criticising the ACA call out.
However, Williams said the idea for the story had come from him and his own experiences in renovating his property, on which he had employed Korean tradespeople.
“They actually market themselves as Korean painters,” Williams said.
“Importantly, the story is positive and there was no negativity or racial vilification intended. We weren’t saying ‘Korean tradies are crap – don’t go near Korean tradies’ we were saying that this was a good story – actually out of my personal experience – and that’s how it was first mooted.”
Asked about how the social media call-out occurred, Williams blamed a “a junior social media staffer”. The post was quickly deleted.
“Sadly, a junior social media staffer, in good faith, put up a call-out on behalf of a reporter without having the copy approved,” he said.
“Of course the copy was inappropriate.”