ABC accused of sacking Antoinette Lattouf for ‘expressing political opinion’ and ‘because of her ethnicity’

The lawyer representing sacked ABC radio host Antoinette Lattouf has spoken out against the broadcaster.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Lattouf has engaged Josh Bornstein as her lawyer and expanded her Fair Work Commission complaint against the ABC who dropped her from its summer radio gig for posting pro-Palestine content to her social media platforms.

The expanded complaint now alleges that Lattouf “was sacked because of her ethnicity and that the public broadcaster systemically discriminates against people with Arab or Muslim backgrounds as well as other people of colour”.

It’s alleged that – during her fill-in hosting gig on Sydney’s Mornings radio slot between December 18-20 – Lattouf was told by acting station manager Mark Spurway on 20 December that she was “sounding great” and that the audience was “responding very well”. However, Lattouf claims that within an hour of that exchange, she was called into a meeting with senior management and sacked immediately “because she had reposted a Human Rights Watch (HRW) social media post alleging the Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza”.

“I’m a big supporter of public broadcasting. I will always advocate for a well-funded, fair, independent and representative ABC. Our democracy is more enriched for it. This is why it is disheartening to not only witness the horrendous treatment of people of colour by the ABC over the years, but now to personally – and so publicly – feel its wrath,” Lattouf said in a statement today.

“Despite the ABC’s rhetoric about diversity and inclusion, it is currently an unsafe workplace for journalists who are people of colour. I’m aware of several diverse journalists who have either resigned or are on the brink of resigning because they are unfairly scrutinised and don’t believe their employer will back them and fear they will be next to be thrown under the bus.”

Bornstein added that Lattouf’s dismissal is a clear breach of the Fair Work Act.

“The claim has now been amended to reflect that Antoinette Lattouf alleges that she was sacked by the ABC because she expressed a political opinion and also because of her race. Since October 7 and the ensuing conflict in the Middle East, it has become notorious in the media industry that Arab and Muslim journalists are being intimidated, censored and sacked,” he said.

“In this case we will show that the ABC has not sacked white journalists for expressing political opinion, even where those journalists worked in news and current affairs.

“Antoinette’s role at the ABC was not a news or current affairs role. She shared four posts during her employment and was told that sharing the Human Rights Watch posts was somehow a breach of the ABC’s social media policy. Then she was suddenly and humiliatingly sacked,” he continued.

“We are seeking a detailed, public apology and compensation for harm to reputation and for distress and humiliation. In addition, Antoinette will seek an order that the ABC offer her a commensurate role back on air, as she is passionate about the importance of a representative public broadcaster. Finally, we are also seeking the imposition of penalties on the ABC to deter it from repeating this conduct.”

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) quickly responded to the disciplinary action taken out by the ABC against Lattouf, describing the sacking as “disturbing”.

“Australians expect and deserve an ABC that is home to a range of ideas and opinions reflective of the diversity of Australian society,” said MEAA acting chief executive, Adam Portelli.

Mumbrella has contacted ABC for comment.


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