An ABC radio presenter has been reduced to tears on-air after receiving an abusive text message from a listener.
Ali Clarke (pictured above), who co-hosts the breakfast slot on ABC Adelaide, broke down during yesterday’s broadcast over some criticism sent in about her interview with a woman who rescued a joey.
“We don’t always get things right here, but we do always try our best. We sit here with a text line in front of us, and it just adds up,” she told listeners.
“Sometimes we do interviews and it’s handed to us last minute. We’re trying our very best.
“And when someone texts in ‘that was a pitiful interview and what you just said was awful’, [that] I’ve embarrassed the interviewee, [that] I’ve provided excruciating listening for the Adelaide audience, and maybe this is too, but it adds up.
“And sorry this has come out of left-field, and it’s fine – normally I’d be able to deal with it. Maybe I’m just having a bad day. That’s what people always say about this stuff – you’ve got to be tough and that – but sometimes you’re just not tough enough.”
Clarke urged people to be conscious of the damage negative comments can do.
“I know that I probably shouldn’t even be saying this, but every single announcer sits here and they see what you’re saying, and you have a right to say it – don’t get me wrong – but maybe just before you send in texts like that, you understand that it’s hard doing live radio,” she said.
You can listen to Clarke’s soundbite in full here.
Co-host David Bevan defended Clarke’s reaction, saying that while they try to be tough against negative commentary from listeners, “sometimes it does get through and it’s really, really hurtful”.
In an email to staff, ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie acknowledged that while feedback from the public was part and parcel of working for a media company, “sometimes you need to draw the line”.
“Particularly in relation to anonymous online attacks or trolling which, unfortunately, are an increasingly common dark facet of online exchanges,” she wrote.
“Personal abuse, threats and harassment, are not acceptable. Under any circumstances.”
Guthie said in the email that the ABC was assisting Clarke following the incident and asked staff for suggestions on handling trolls.
“We are also looking internally and externally at additional measures to protect our people. This includes peer support and safe engagement with our audiences,” Guthrie wrote.