Former SBS reporter Scott McIntyre lodges legal action over Anzac Day tweet sacking



Sacked SBS sports journalist Scott McIntyre has launched a discrimination case against the broadcaster claiming it did “not follow due process” when it fired him.

The sports reporter has enlisted the services of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers to contest the sacking, with the law firm saying the case will hinge on whether SBS overstepped its powers by axing the journalist “without a proper investigation”.

It will also argue that McIntyre was entitled to air his political opinion without risk of losing his job.

McIntyre was fired after he sent a series of Anzac Day tweets which management described as “inappropriate and disrespectful” towards Anzac troops, with SBS managing director Michael Ebeid saying McIntyre had compromised the “integrity of the network and audience trust”.

McIntyre’s tweets included one which read: “Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by those ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan”.

In a statement, Maurice Blackburn said: “The application made to the Fair Work Commission claims that SBS breached its policies, including its Code of Conduct when the broadcaster dismissed Mr McIntyre on 26 April 2015.

“The case is not about whether Mr McIntyre’s opinions are correct or not. It will focus on whether the views expressed by Mr McIntyre constituted political opinion and whether SBS terminated his employment for expressing these views.

“Section 351 of the Fair Work Act protects employees from adverse action by their employer (including sacking) if they express political opinion.”

The law firm will argue that SBS took action “without a proper investigation and consideration of all relevant issues”.

“It will be contended that Mr McIntyre had an unblemished work record and if a proper process had been followed he would still be employed in his chosen career.”

SBS declined to comment on the claim.

McIntyre’s sacking sparked an online petition urging SBS to reinstate the sports reporter.

The calls came as a number of journalist questioned the decision to dismiss McIntyre as gagging his right to express opinion.

Fairfax Media journalist Geoff Winestock challenged the company to sack him after tweeting Anzacs are “racist yobs” describing Anzac Day as a “death cult”.

Steve Jones

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