Campaign ignites to get Sam Newman sacked by Nine
SAM Newman has been pushing the envelope - and largely getting away with it - for 40 years as a radio and TV personality.
But has he finally gone one step too far?
A groundswell of opposition to the 74-year-old former AFL star is developing after his recent comments about George Floyd, an American man who died while being held by police in Minnesota.
While describing Floyd's death as "disgraceful", Newman suggested the pedestal he was being put up on as the face of the Black Lives Matter movement was wrong because of his history.
"George Floyd … is piece of shit," Newman said on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious.
"He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he's a drug addict, he's a crackhead and he's a porn star."
"He's dead because of the police brutality and it never should have happened. But I am telling you who George Floyd is, now they've made a monument about him and he's a piece of shit".
The comments have ignited a furious response on social media, with Channel 9 - which recently brought back the long-time star of the AFL Footy Show in a weekly segment on its Sunday Footy Show program - under pressure to sack Newman.
There was even some friendly fire.
Jim Malo, a property writer with Nine-owned Domain, tweeted: "Genuinely ashamed this clown is employed by the same company as me."
Mike Carlton added: "How much longer will Nine put up with this vulgar, ranting, knuckle-dragging f***wit?"
Rosie Thomas, the co-founder of Project Rockit, a youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, tweeted to Channel 9 saying "it's time to #StandDownSam hate is not commentary and it's definitely not footy".
She linked to an online petition calling for Newman's long association with the broadcaster to end.
"Channel 9 has given one of Australia's most prominent racists an unrivalled, paid platform to broadcast his hateful, racist views," the petition read.
"In pursuit of ratings and profit during a shortened footy season, Channel 9 is banking on racism to make back their advertising bucks. And by doing so, Channel 9 has made itself complicit in fuelling hatred and violence.
"Newman's hate speech normalises bigotry and emboldens those who seek to do harm to Black people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Muslim people, and others.
"We need your help to show Channel 9 this is the wrong decision. It needs to take responsibility for its role in the spread of hatred, violence, and bigotry."
Mary Konstantopoulos, a champion of women's sport with her Ladies Who League website, said the fight against racism would fail if Newman remained employed in the media.
"Channel 9 announced that Sam Newman was returning to the Sunday Footy Show with his own segment," she wrote. "How can we make progress when men like this are in positions of authority?"
Many others called for Australia to stop giving Newman airtime.
As a minimum standard we need to be a nation that has absolutely no interest in what Sam Newman thinks.— jon kudelka (@jonkudelka) June 18, 2020
Veteran footy journalist Caroline Wilson this week cited Newman's "terrible history in the area of race relations" after his criticism last weekend of AFL players kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter.
Newman infamously wore blackface on an episode of The Footy Show in 1999 and was forced to apologise to the indigenous community.
Originally published as 'Genuinely ashamed': Angry Sam reaction
STOP GIVING SAM NEWMAN AIRTIME!!!!!!! He is a massive laughing stock who shouldn't be taken seriously— Liam Warren (@liam_warren94) June 18, 2020
Media outlets have got to stop reporting on what Sam Newman says. This tweet applied probably 10 or more years ago but especially so now.— Niall Seewang (@N_Seewang) June 18, 2020
There's a reason Sam Newman is nicknamed 'Fossil". He's a dinosaur.— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) June 18, 2020