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‘Heartfelt apology’ from ABC boss over bigotry and racism

ABC news boss Justin Stevens has issued a “heartfelt apology” over bigotry and racism at the national broadcaster.

His apology to employees in an all-staff email followed an internal investigation into “cultural insensitivity” at the ABC.

The inquiry looked into the experiences of Indigenous and culturally diverse staff.

It found some staff ABC felt unwelcome in their workplace, and that their contributions were not being heard in team discussions.

Some also criticised the internal complaints process, and a lack of support mechanisms for those dealing with racism at work.

“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,” Stevens said in his email.

“I am sorry.”

Justin Stevens has expressed sorrow over racism at the ABC. Supplied
Camera IconJustin Stevens has expressed sorrow over racism at the ABC. Supplied Credit: Supplied

Stevens was appointed news director in April after working as executive producer on 7.30.

His email addressed “toxic” behaviour experienced by some ABC staff.

“Some feel their voices are not heard in team discussions as they ought to be,” he said.

“Some feel that at times there aren’t enough support mechanisms in place when something occurs and that, even when a formal complaint is made, processes aren’t always adequate.”

Camera IconThe ABC news boss has offered staff a “heartfelt apology”. NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett Credit: News Corp Australia

Stevens also addressed online abuse experienced by some ABC employees.

“These things should never happen,” he said.

“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.”

Stevens said increasing diversity of newsrooms was essential.

And he said it was the responsibility of all ABC staff – not just those from diverse backgrounds – to create a more inclusive workplace.

ABC producer Tali Aualiitia was among the first to respond publicly.

An apology is one thing, action is now what is needed,” she said.

“Here’s hoping my employer will properly address the issues brought up in this report.”

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