AN on-air apology over an antisemitic slur made by a talkback caller on an episode of the ABC Radio program Australia All Over with Ian McNamara has been welcomed by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).
In the May 3 broadcast, the caller said she managed a factory in the 1980s which “employed so many people. And when I was working they were worried sick that this big Jew was gonna buy it out, buy us out. And blow me down eventually he did and he broke, and he sold all our machinery and everything went over to, he sold it to over China.”
Following an investigation, ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs accepted AIJAC was justified in complaining over the comments.
The ABC response said, “The antisemitic slur was not heard by the presenter,” and noted that McNamara had made an on-air apology on June 28, stating, “Last month on our program on May 3 we had a caller who made a comment that caused hurt and offence to the Jewish community. The ABC apologises for the oversight that let this remark go to air. It has been removed from our podcast of that program.”
ABC Regional management also offered “sincere apologies for the offence caused” and reassured AIJAC that McNamara’s failure to hear the remark “is not provided as an excuse for the comment going to air”.
The investigation further accepted that the program breached ABC editorial standards by not using the dump button or apologising for the slur during the program’s broadcast.
AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said the apology by McNamara and the relevant ABC management was an important acknowledgement that “Australia’s premier national broadcaster will not tolerate antisemitism across its various and many outlets.”
He added, “At a time when there is a resurgence in global and local antisemitism, including Nazi flags flying, vandals defacing posters with swastikas during election campaigns, Jews being blamed for the spread of coronavirus and even being accused of responsibility for police brutality against black people, it is important to acknowledge and act on antisemitism if and when it appears.
“The ABC has appropriately done so in this case and we are grateful to them for doing the right thing.”