An outpouring of support for resigning ABC host Stan Grant continued late into the evening following his last appearance on talk show Q+A.
The veteran journalist held his final panel discussion for the show on Monday following his decision to “walk away” from the program, after publicly revealing his personal experience enduring racist abuse.
Grant’s final episode at the helm involved a panel discussion with five first-term parliamentarians, who were mostly there to review the Albanese government’s initial year in power since winning the federal election.
Guests included Labor member for Higgins Michelle Ananda-Rajah, Liberal member for Flinders Zoe McKenzie, ACT independent Senator David Pocock, Tasmanian independent Senator Tammy Tyrrell, and Greens member for Griffith Max Chandler-Mather.
The first audience question of the night brought up the abuse Grant had suffered.
“I have been disgusted by the hatred and abuse that has been fired at Stan Grant because of his colour and the articulation of his professional essence, I ask the panel what needs to happen to stop hate speech,” said the audience member, Anaru August.
The powerful question was applauded online with ABC colleagues and Indigenous advocates praising the program for dealing with the subject frankly.
Not-for-profit inclusivity advocacy group Media Diversity Australia kicked off the comments by sharing a post with a photo of Grant hosting his last show.
“One of Media Diversity Australia’s earliest and most high-profile supporters. A mentor to countless young reporters, especially Blak reporters. Stan Grant is a tireless veteran journalist that we admire, support and respect. #istandwithstan,” the organisation tweeted.
Seven News reporter Christie Cooper voiced her support, stating “personal attacks on journalists … and racism are not okay”.
“#IStandWithStan and I’m so sorry Stan Grant has been so hurt by racial commentary, both in and out of the media, that it’s forced him to walk away. It’s 2023, it’s not good enough,” she tweeted.
Former ABC head of Indigenous employment and diversity Phillipa McDermott tweeted: “Don’t let them shut down your voice Stan #IStandWithStan we got you brother.”
ABC Rage programmer Yasmin Vought added that she was watching the program with a glass of wine opposed to her usual camomile tea, in honour of Grant.
“Thinking of you Stan. Sending much love and support you and your family,” she tweeted.
Then as Grant bid his farewell and shared an emotional statement about his departure from the show, a flood of tributes flowed for the journalist, with many voicing their sadness.
Among the posts was motoring journalist David Zalstein’s comment stating his “heart goes out” to Grant and his family.
“Pause and reflect on how much struggle, hardship, and mistreatment he and his family have been through, then consider that this country and it’s people have put them there. #IStandWithStan #QandA #VoteYes,” he tweeted.
Writer Sahar Adatia said: “It is hard to recognise Australia when racism continues to poison us and its destruction prevails. If we want to do better, we must treasure, protect and defend our First Nations and migrants.”
“Solidarity to Stan Grant and those at the ABC who stood by him.”
Activist Sally Rugg said: “Stan Grant’s powerful closing speech on Q+A and the standing ovation that followed will be a moment in television history remembered for a long time.”
The deluge of online posts applauding Grant came hours after dozens of ABC employees staged a walkout and participated in a social media campaign to call out racism in the workplace.
Those taking to the streets chanted “I stand with Stan” while a similar #istandwithstan hashtag was used online.
The phrase “we reject racism” was also used to express solidarity with Grant and his decision to speak up.
Among those endorsing Grant’s actions was Insiders host David Speers who tweeted: “Racism is abhorrent. I stand with my friend and colleague Stan Grant”.
A photo of himself holding a printed piece of paper with the #istandwithstan and #werejectracism hashtags accompanied the post.
Meanwhile Triple J Hack reporter Kimberly Price shared a video of a group of ABC staff chanting the campaign phrases while holding signs.
Joining the chorus of support was ABC’s News Breakfast digital producer Anthony Furci, reporter Casey Briggs, and ABC’s News operations team member Dylan Anderson.
“It was hard to go through the same sex marriage postal vote as a queer man,” Anderson tweeted.
“Now I worry for the mental safety of my fellow mob going into the Voice Referendum. This rhetoric isn’t new, but how we go forward can be.”
China Tonight co-host and ex-ABC reporter Samuel Yang also weighed in, tweeting: “I stand with Stan and Indigenous colleagues at the ABC. We are allowed to do our jobs/journalism without experiencing racism”.
Q+A social media producer Neryssa Azlan also directed a tweet at non-Indigenous journalists.
“On my way to work since I start and finish late on show nights … but I hope non-Indigenous journos who are out supporting Stan in any capacity take this time to self-reflect and figure out ways how we ourselves have been complicit and how we can be better,” she wrote.
The support even came from as far out as the regions with ABC staff from Victoria’s Gippsland and rural Queensland tweeting their support.
Grant unexpectedly announced he would be leaving the government-funded broadcasters’ current affairs program last week due to being the subject of racial mockery and abuse.
His experience prompted him to call out the lack of support he felt he had received from the ABC, while putting the constant bullying he along with his family had faced on a pedestal.
The 59-year-old Wiradjuri, Gurrawin and Dharawal man, also revealed how the abuse escalated following his appearance on the ABC’s King’s coronation panel.
“Since the King’s coronation, I have seen people in the media lie and distort my words. They have tried to depict me as hate filled. They have accused me of maligning Australia,” he wrote.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. My ancestors would not allow me to be filled with hate.”
He later brought to light the Voice referendum, noting that while he’s not “beyond criticism”, the stakes for his community were high.
“There is a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to parliament and I am not alone in feeling judged. This is an Australian judgment on us. Such is politics,” he wrote.
“But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I have had enough.”
In light of Grant’s public address, ABC managing director David Anderson issued an apology to the media personality, stating the broadcaster “could do better”.
“Stan Grant has stated that he has not felt publicly supported,” Mr Anderson said.
“For this, I apologise to Stan. The ABC endeavours to support its staff in the unfortunate moments when there is external abuse directed at them.”
Grant’s decision to “step away” from the program comes less than a year after he was appointed as the show’s permanent host, with discussions now being held about who will be his replacement.
Mr Anderson said he will launch an investigation into how racism affects staff to educate the broadcaster on how to better assist their employees.
– With Brooke Rolfe