Today show host Karl Stefanovic has blasted a report claiming that Channel Nine is the ‘worst offender’ when it comes to lack of on-air diversity.
A report published by Media Diversity Australia on Monday claims that just 11.4 per cent of the live talent on news and current affairs shows are from non-Anglo-Celtic and non-European backgrounds. This figure shrinks to three per cent for Channel Nine, according to the non-profit organisation’s findings.
Karl was quick to dispute the report, saying that he was proud to have ‘diverse European heritage’ and also pointing out that he’d faced discrimination in the past.
The 46-year-old tweeted: ‘Im not sure how diverse you need to be to qualify for diverse but I’m of Yugoslav German and British heritage with a surname Stefanovic. I used to be called a wog at school.’
In the Australian vernacular, wog is a racial slur for a foreigner or immigrant, especially one from southern Europe.
Karl claimed that his ‘diversity’ had long been celebrated by the network, adding: ‘I’m proud of my heritage. I’m pretty sure it’s diverse and Nine has always supported that.’
‘I’m proud of my European heritage’: Today show host Karl Stefanovic has blasted a report claiming that Channel Nine is the ‘worst offender’ when it comes to lack of on-air diversity
‘I’m pretty sure it’s diverse!’ Karl was quick to dispute the report by Media Diversity Australia, tweeting that he was proud to have ‘diverse European heritage’ and also pointing out that he’d faced discrimination in the past
Karl tweeted in response to a News.com.au article published on the reports which claimed the findings reveal the ’embarrassing chasm between the multicultural make-up of Australians, and the on-air journalists, presenters and commentators featured in local news and current affairs programming.’
The broadcaster’s impassioned tweet raised eyebrows with other social media commentators who claimed he still possessed ‘white privilege’ as a result of his European roots.
One lectured: ‘Karl giving your own Caucasian European Christian background does not address diversity. Diversity means inclusivity of non-white, non-Christian people both male and female. You are a cis white male Christian and enjoy the lion share in society. Open your eyes. Make space.’
Another said: ‘Servus Karl, well it is and isn’t about you. When I look at my friends and family, I see real Australia, a multi-coloured vibrant community. I don’t see that Australia reflected in the faces on mainstream Oz TV channels. You should be pushing to change this. It’s your fight too.’
New report: It has been revealed that a mere 11.4 per cent of non-Anglo-Celtic and non-European live talent make up Australia’s news and current affair shows with Nine home to only 3 per cent of culturally diverse broadcast journalists [Karl pictured with his Today show co-host Allison Langdon]
‘Open your eyes’: The broadcaster’s impassioned tweet raised eyebrows with other social media commentators who claimed he still possessed ‘white privilege’ as a result of his European roots
Someone else echoed: ‘Instead of taking the easy white privileged middle-aged male option and dismissing or criticising the report, why not use your voice to support the principles and outline what you’d do to change things for the better, now and in the future.’
Another person used a personal example in an attempt to disprove Karl’s stance on the situation, tweeting: ‘That’s ‘Mighty White’ of you. Both my parents were born in London, but one of my grand-parents is 1/2 Scottish. Guess we can both be considered diverse.’
It was also added: ‘Karl knows which side his bread is buttered. Pushing for change within Nine is not going to serve his career. Best to play nice with the old boys club. Good on him.’
Channel Nine declined to comment when approached by Daily Mail Australia.
Coming out in defence: Karl claimed that his ‘diversity’ had long been celebrated by the Channel Nine
In response to Karl’s tweet, non-profit group Media Diversity Australia explained their findings in-depth to him.
They wrote: ‘Thanks for being interested in our research Karl and the Iseue of representation in TV news You were counted in the data as having a European background [sic].’
Their report also revealed that Channel 7 was marginally better than Channel 9, who had 4.8 per cent of diverse talent while Channel 10 had 8.6 per cent.
At 76.8 per cent, SBS was found to be Australia’s most prominent network for ethnically diverse talent.
‘You were counted as having a European background’: In response to Karl’s tweet, non-profit group Media Diversity Australia explained their findings in-depth to him
Darren Wick, Nine’s director of news and current affairs, said in a statement to news.com.au: ‘I don’t think simply counting surnames on TV is an effective way of addressing the issue or helps in finding practical solutions to these challenges.
‘This report has clear errors and ignores the significant contribution of someone like Brooke Boney on Today, where is she one of four main hosts on the desk, instead simply listing her daily and regular contribution on the program at somewhere between 0.1 per cent and 0 per cent [an early copy of the report rounded Channel 9’s overall Indigenous representation to 0 per cent but was revised to 0.1 per cent in the final release].
‘This is not reflective of the real changes and proactive appointments we have been making in improving diversity in our television business.’
Reflecting: Karl also claimed that he was called a ‘wog’ – a racial slur which is considered offensive – at school because of his background [Pictured winning the Logie for Most Popular Personality in 2011]