Sky News Australia buckled when they received backlash over an Adam Giles’ interview with former United Patriots Front chairmann and self – confessed Neo – Nazi, Blair Cottrell last Sunday.
It was wrong to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News Australia. His views do not reflect ours. The interview has been removed from repeat timeslots and online platforms.
– Greg Byrnes, News Director
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 5, 2018
Cottrell is known for his extreme anti – immigration and anti – Semitic views and conspiracy theories, describing Jews as ‘parasites’ and has expressed that Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf should be read in schools. He has also been in legal trouble when he staged a mock beheading in 2015, as well as violent crimes.
Two regular presenters, Laura Jayes and David Speers attacked the decision both on social media and on air.
Blair Cottrell is a far right-wing fascist who’s a self confessed Hitler fan. He’s boasted about using “violence and terror” to manipulate women. His rap sheet includes arson, burglary, racial vilification.
He’s not an activist. He’s just an arsehole.
— Laura Jayes (@ljayes) August 5, 2018
Quite frankly, I don’t know what Sky News Australlia was thinking. Surely they knew about his history and his association with UPF. I was almost thinking about deleting my Foxtel apps and abandon Sky News Australia altogether. This is for two main reasons: one, they should have known who Cottrell was and what he was known for, and two; this isn’t the first scandal that Sky News Australia has been involved in. There was the badly handled David Leyonheljm interview on Outsiders last month, and there was Mark Latham’s attack on a Sydney school student about his alleged sexuality, (fortunately he was sacked for that, but has been on a few times since).
I wonder whether the interview was deliberate and the apology was only issued because of the backlash from current and former staff and the public. This also comes less than a month until Sky News Australia will be on free – to – air TV as part of the Win Network. Coincidence?
It has got to be said that Sky News Australia hasn’t been the only station that has allowed Cottrell air time. Both Channel Seven and the ABC have had Cottrell on their news/ commentary programs. All should have known better. The management, as well as presenters should have known who he is and the impact people like him have. This Blair Cottrell incident is particularly ironic given his history of anti – Semitism and many presenters’ fierce defense of Jews and Israel.
I do applaud Jayes, Speers and Andrew Bolt for criticising Sky News and Giles’ passivity during the interview. It is great to see that a number of employees are willing to speak up against the decision. One commentator, Craig Emmerson, left the station in revolt. His father fought the Nazis and was their POW in World War II.
Sky News Australia has some great shows and I have enjoyed watching some of the presenters. But I won’t tolerate hard – Right extremism and gutlessness from presenters when faced with bigotry.
Let’s hope this is the last scandal we hear about Sky News Australia. Let’s hope they go back to the centre a bit.
(CW rape threat)
If it’s not bad enough that Sky News Australa invited an anti – Semite and thug on air, things even became uglier when Cottrell turned on Laura Jayes, implying she should have been raped on air.
As if to prove my original character assessment…. Blair Cottrell posts (and later deletes) some weird suggestion about raping me on air.
He’s not just a fascist. He’s down right dangerous pic.twitter.com/OwEIy1UpYz
— Laura Jayes (@ljayes) August 6, 2018
Let’s hope Sky News Australia (and other stations) can reign in extremism from now on.
Sky News Australia CEO, Angelos Frangopoulos made a statement promising that Cottrell will not be featured on the station again.
A statement from Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO Australian News Channel, regarding the Sunday night broadcast of The Adam Giles Show. pic.twitter.com/KLS9AEgXhM
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 6, 2018
Let’s hope that’s the case.