Warning: this article contains discussions about and using racial slurs.
A petition has been launched to sack Sky News host Peter Gleeson, after he used blatantly racist language in a Black Lives Matter opinion piece published in The Sunday Telegraph.
Gleeson used the term “negroes” while calling Australia’s protests against police brutality and Indigenous deaths in custody “idiotic”.
How the hell did someone allow this to run to print? Editors, sub-editors… Just when you thought the #sundaytelegraph couldn’t sink any lower. I’d lose my job if I used any version of the n-word, would be shocked if Peter Gleeson kept his. pic.twitter.com/guu8Voc2Ht
— Jordan Mulach (@JordanFW07) June 14, 2020
He also used the term “aborigine”, which has long been regarded as patronising toward Indigenous Australians.
The article sparked major controversy; so much that a petition started on Charnge.org calling for Gleeson to be sacked.
At the time of writing this article, it had gained over 1,000 signatures.
And, I mean, I’m not going to tell you what to do (sign it), but if you don’t feel mad about his language (sign it) you definitely need to re-evaluate your life choices (sign it).
According to HuffPost, there were a number of different versions of the piece published across a number of News Corp’s online mastheads. Except these were slightly tweaked and used the deaths of four Townsville teens to prove his point.
“The reality in this country – and the United States – is that the greatest danger to Aborigines and African-Americans is themselves,” Gleeson said in the Courier Mail.
How The Hell Did He Get Away With It?
There is a general consensus – as there has been for a while – that the N-word (or any derogatory derivative) is unacceptable to use when referring to people of colour, Black people, or Indigenous people.
The changes to language began in America in the 1960s, with such language considered “uncouth” bu the mid-1980s. The term “aborigine” has been regarded as unacceptable since the 1960s.
What is perhaps the worst part of all, is that the copy passed through numerous hands before it hit newsstands and the internet. There were numerous chances for the language to be fixed, but it wasn’t.
And while I don’t dismiss or condone what he said, I could almost pass it as being a really bad no good absolutely terrible ‘slip’ that the Editor should have picked up on and should have changed and warned Gleeson against using ever again.
The bottom line is, those words should never have been published. But they were, and now the public is taking action.
“It’s Capital ‘A’ For Aboriginal, Fuckface.”
The ruction to Gleeson’s article, titled Where’s the real justice?, was lightning fast. It even prompted formal complaints to be made to The Australian Press Council, journalists rule-keeping authority.
Rapper, Briggs posted a response to his Instagram, calling the language “archaic, but very ‘on-brand’ for Australia.”
““The fact this Racism is written, proofed and printed is disgusting but this isn’t a one off and the climate of the country that allows this rationale (or lack of),” his caption reads.
He also took to his Twitter to call it out – using one of the best sentences I think I’ver ever read in a tweet:
And it’s capital “A” for Aboriginal, fuckface. pic.twitter.com/KSECyXMaqS
— Senator Briggs (@Briggs) June 14, 2020
“Until racist opinions are smashed. Until racist systems and structures are obliterated, we’re not going to see actual change.”
View this post on Instagram
This is evident of the dialogue Australia has with Indigenous people. The fact this Racism is written, proofed and printed is disgusting but this isn’t a one off and the climate of the country that allows this rationale (or lack of). How far have we come? Not far at all. This kind of language is archaic, but very “on-brand” for Australia. Until racist opinions are smashed. Until racist systems and structures are obliterated, we’re not going to see actual change. 14/06/2020 :: I don’t wanna be a billboard for Daily Racist Australia (that’s for twitter) so I dunno how long I’ll leave this one up? But this was printed today 2020 Sunday @dailytelegraph
What Can You Do?
There are two big things.
One, sign the petition and join a big public display of support and solidarity with the Indigenous and African-Australians this piece insulted; and to push Gleeson’s employers to do something about his heinous behaviour. Sign it here (and don’t forget to share it with your fellow democratic citizens).
Another thing you can do, that not many know of, is you can make a formal complaint to The Australian Press Council. With enough complaints for what almost certainly breaches their guidelines, they can force Gleeson and News Corp to make reparations for the damage they’ve done. You can do that here.
Go forth and conquer, my friends.
Image Sources: Instagram (@senatorbriggs), Change.org