Justin Stevens, ABC’s news director has made a humbled apology to staff after a report found that some Indigenous and culturally diverse staff members have experienced racism working at the broadcaster. What is scary is that the racism which was reported didn’t just happen overnight but this racism issue has existed at the ABC for years.
In an email, Stevens wrote to staff saying (via the Guardian):
“These things should never happen,”
“The ABC will not allow or tolerate any racism in the workplace. Ever. Our newsrooms, teams and workplace must be respectful, inclusive and welcoming at all times of all employees. No one should ever feel that they don’t belong at the ABC because of their cultural background.”
“To anyone in News who has ever experienced any racism or bigotry in our workplace, current and former news employees, as director, news I would like to express my sorrow for that and make a heartfelt apology. I am sorry.”
This report interviewed 20 staff members and written by staff on ABC’s diversity committee.
ABC News reporter Jason Om told the Sydney Morning Herald that this apology from Stevens was a very important step forward, he wrote on Twitter:
“Over the years, I have felt quietly disappointed by what I have seen, heard and experienced in the ABC,”
“Sometimes the broadcaster you love lets you down.”
The chief executive officer of Media Diversity Australia, Mariam Veiszadeh said even though this is the ABC, it doesn’t mean that they are immune from having racism issues and that getting diversity and inclusion right was extremely important (via the Guardian):
“We recognise that the ABC has made a commitment to addressing the identified issues of racism and bigotry head on and we look forward to partnering with the ABC along this journey,”
“As outlined in the memo to ABC staff, when diversity, equity and inclusion is done well and comprehensively, it is not a box ticking exercise, instead it creates psychologically safe working environments where all employees can thrive and this results in a whole host of benefits including more innovation, better staff retention, and essentially a better bottom line.”
Great step forward for sure and let’s hope there will be more changes in ABC for the better.
Images via the Sydney Morning Herald