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Sky News suspends producer over Sarah Hanson-Young broadcast

Sky News has apologised to politician Sarah Hanson-Young over comments broadcast about her on the channel’s controversial right-wing Sunday morning show Outsiders.

The show, hosted by Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron, invited eccentric senator David Leyonhjelm onto the program days after he had shouted abusive comments at Hanson-Young on Parliament, telling her to “stop shagging men”.

During the broadcast he made further comments about her, which were also repeated in an on-screen caption.

Co-presenter Rowan Dean smirked as Leyonhjelm stated: “This is not a criticism but Sarah is known for liking men. The rumours about her in Parliament House are well known, so I just said ‘Well stop shagging men then, Sarah. It doesn’t make sense if you think they’re all rapists, why would you shag them?’ She took great offence at that, which is her problem, not my problem. In retrospect she has a right to shag as many men as she likes, I don’t care.”

Dean grinned as Leyonhjelm discussed Hanson-Young’s sex life

Unlike comments made in Parliament, broadcasters could be subject to legal proceedings over the broadcasting of libellous allegations.

The caption was repeated throughout the 17 minute interviewing, alternating with another in which Leyonhjelm called on “us alpha males” to stand up for themselves.

Another caption highlighted Leyonhjelm’s call for alpha males to stand up for themselves

Within a few hours, the news channel, which is owned by News Corp, apologised for broadcasting the comments and said that a producer had been suspended.

It is not the first controversy to hit the show, which saw former co-host Mark Latham fired by the station last year over his comments about Kristina Keneally.

The controversy was first called out by Amazon journalist Shannon Molloy, who saw the show as it aired in a Qantas lounge.

Molloy, who was himself a News Corp journalist before becoming content editor for Amazon’s Alexa late last year, has also created a Change.org petition calling on Qantas to ditch Sky News from its lounges. At the time of writing, the petition has already received more than 1000 signatures.

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