ABC’S Q&A is known for people getting into some pretty feisty debates, but last night’s episode turned into anarchy when an audience member declared themselves a supporter of Vladimir Putin.
It all kicked off when University student, Sasha Gillies-Leakakis asked the panel hosts: “As someone who comes from the Russian community here in Australia, I’ve been pretty outraged by the narrative depicted by our media, with Ukraine as the good guy and Russia as the bad guy.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot of Russians here and around the world that supports what Putin’s doing in Ukraine, myself included.”
The panel then briefly and awkwardly tackled his question before moving on to discussing the flooding in New South Wales.
However, 20 minutes later, host Stan Grant circled back and according to ABC News said: “Something has been bothering me, I have to admit, since we had Sasha’s question earlier about Russia, and it’s been playing on my mind.
“Sasha, people here have been talking about families who are suffering and people who are dying. You supported what’s happening, hearing that people are dying. Can I just say, I’m just not comfortable with you being here, Could you please leave?”
Gillies-Lekakis did seem to indicate he did not want to leave but Grant silenced him and said: “You can ask a question, but we cannot advocate violence. I should have asked you to leave then. It’s been playing on my mind and, I’m sorry, but I have to ask you to leave.”
— QandA (@QandA) March 3, 2022
Later Grant clarified that the question hadn’t been vetted beforehand.
Naturally, the moment has now gone viral and Twitter is weighing in with some people championing Grant’s stance and others questioning it.
Stan Grant just ejected an audience member who was advocating Russian violence against civilians in Ukraine.
Well done, Stan Grant! 💪 #QANDA
There must be no tolerance of violence toward defenceless citizens! @abcnews
— David Groenenboom (@DaveGroenenboom) March 3, 2022
If you can't handle genuine questions and you kick people out of the room for asking them, then you have no business whatsoever hosting a publicly funded show called Q&A. Stan Grant – you've disgraced yourself and you should relinquish your job immediately. #defundtheabc
— Aussie Deplorable 🇦🇺 (@shravaka) March 3, 2022
Where were you Stan Grant? #QandA you’re a disgrace. He wasn’t advocating for war, nor was he suggesting joy at anyones demise. We’re sick of the propaganda. When it suits you manufacture consent for war, when it doesn’t you play righteous censor. Or is it racism? pic.twitter.com/YE5uJtGfvO
— Nostra (@Nostrasmartass) March 3, 2022
The world seems like it's descending into a previously unthinkable madness right now. Stan Grant kicking out the provocative Russian advocating violence & Ukraine's invasion was the right thing to do. Violence is a grave violation of human rights. There's no place for it. #QandA
— Sahar Adatia (@sahar_adatia) March 3, 2022
Interestingly, The Daily Mail has reported that Gillies-Leakakis has said: “I am genuinely sorry that things took the turn they did. However, at the same time, an acknowledgement of ABC’s questionable conduct would also be appreciated.”
Meanwhile, the debate continues to rages online.
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