Red Symons’ podcast pulled by ABC over blackface and ‘What’s the deal with Asians?’ outrage

In the face of social media outrage the ABC this afternoon removed a podcast of Radio National’s It’s Not A Race interview between host Red Symons and Beverley Wang.

The podcast was an unedited version of an ABC Radio Melbourne interview broadcast on June 12. In it, Symons described the 2009 infamous Hey, Hey It’s Saturday blackface incident as being ‘alleged’.

After originally been posted last night, the story was picked up on social media and spread quickly. While the ABC later stated the podcast website has been taken down, the audio file still remains available for download.

During the podcast, Wang and Symons discussed race relations including a particularly clumsy exchange revolving around Symons explaining how different skin colours came about because of how long God left dough in the oven before moving on to discussing the Hey Hey It’s Saturday segment.

Symons also told Wang he’d wanted to launch a segment titled ‘What’s the deal with Asians?’ and asked if she was “yellow”.

On social media the interview was met with a combination of outrage and satire.

Even Symons’ friends found the exchange uncomfortable with former ABC broadcaster Jonathan Green saying on Twitter he found it difficult to listen to.

In response to the controversy, the ABC has issued a statement that it had removed both the edited ABC Melbourne interview and the extended podcast, however a quick check on the ABC website shows the file of the longer segment can still be downloaded.

The ABC statement goes on to say a review of the editorial processes “regarding this content and its use is in progress.” At present it appears Symons will return to air for his Monday morning program on ABC Melbourne.


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