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ABC presenter Red Symons apologises for ‘racist’ podcast comments

ABC Melbourne breakfast presenter Red Symons opened his program this morning with an apology to listeners and to colleague Beverley Wang.

Symons’ apology was over comments he made last week  including defending the 2009 Hey, Hey It’s Saturday blackface incident and discussing launching a ‘What’s the deal with Asians?’ segment.

The interview immediately attracted widespread criticism including federal MP Linda Burney demanding he be ‘pulled into line.’

In the pre-recorded comment, Symons made the following statement before going live with a listener quiz.

“Last week on the program I spoke with Beverley Wang about her new podcast ‘It’s Not A Race.’ The plan was to take on a serious topic – race and culture – and talk with Beverly about a range of related issues.

“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.”

The statement echoes the ABC’s announcement of the It’s Not A Race program where Beverley Wang was quoted as saying, “Race, racism and difference are part of everyday life. We need the tools to acknowledge and talk about these subjects, especially if they’re out of our comfort zone.”

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