Backlash after interview with pro-Hitler guest
SKY News Australia has admitted it was "wrong" to air an interview with far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell and has scrubbed the footage from its platforms.
The interview conducted on Sunday evening by Sky host and former Northern Territory Country Liberal Party chief minister Adam Giles sparked outrage cross social media.
It was also criticised by two high profile Sky hosts, David Speers and Laura Jayes.
"It was wrong to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News Australia," Sky News news director Greg Byrnes tweeted late Sunday night after the interview went to air after 6pm.
"His views do not reflect ours. The interview has been removed from repeat timeslots and online platforms."
Sky news presenter Jayes branded Mr Cottrell "just an a*sehole" while political editor David Speers tweeted he "100%" agreed with Jayes.
Mr Cottrell, who has suggested a picture of Adolf Hitler be hung in every Australian classroom, attacked the decision "pathetic" and accused Sky of "caving in" to "Leftist abuse".
During the interview, the former United Patriots Front leader called for immigration cutbacks and warned against "foreign ideologies" in Australian society.
Mr Cottrell, a self-employed Melbourne builder, also said he believed Australians lacked national pride.
Mr Cottrell was convicted in 2017 of inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims. He also has convictions for other matters, including arson.
He is due to appear in the High Court later this year to fight the 2017 conviction and has sought public help to finance his case.
Federal Labor MP Tim Watts questioned why Mr Cottrell was described by Sky as an "activist", tweeting: "Why is a man who has said he wants to see a portrait of Adolf Hitler hung in Australian classrooms and for copies of Mein Kampf to be 'issued annually' to students being given a platform?"
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said the interview was a "shameful low".
"We've come not to expect much from the nocturnal programming at @SkyNewsAust - but featuring a neo-Nazi with a history of crime and violence is a shameful low. It also highlights how extremists are being dangerously accommodated by sections of the Australian media," he tweeted.
NSW Greens upper house MP David Shoebridge said he would decline to be interviewed on Sky until it gave a "full apology".
"I hope my Greens colleagues, and all MPs who care about decency, will join me," he tweeted on Sunday.
Sky News Australia is owned by News Corp Australia, the publisher of news.com.au and this newspaper.