It appears Sky News’ apology for airing an interview with a former leader of the United Patriots Front wasn’t enough for one of its commentators.
Ex-Labor minister Craig Emerson has quit his role as a commentator on Sky News, after the network hosted far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell (pictured above, left) on The Adam Giles Show last night to talk about immigration
Sky News shared out videos and live tweets of Cottrell’s controversial argument that immigration should come down to a matter of race, sparking a wave of criticism on social media and forcing the network to apologise and delete its Twitter posts.
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
Emerson announced via Twitter this morning he had quit Sky News as a commentator due to the interview.
I have advised @SkyNewsAust that I have quit as a Sky commentator. My father fought Nazis in WWII and was interred in a German POW camp. The decision to allow Neo-Nazi Blair Cotterell onto the channel was another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country.
— Craig Emerson (@DrCraigEmerson) August 6, 2018
However, Emerson wasn’t the only member of the Sky News camp to criticise the interview, with political reporter Laura Jayes and political editor David Speers also dishing it out to their own network.
I have just arrived back in the country tonight to be met with the understandable outrage over this. 100% agree with @ljayes. As News Director Greg Byrnes says it was wrong to have this guy on Sky News. https://t.co/QQF4ESRmbJ
— David Speers (@David_Speers) August 5, 2018
Australia’s race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, described it as a “shameful low”.
We’ve come not to expect much from the nocturnal programming at @SkyNewsAust — but featuring a neo-Nazi with a history of crime and violence is a shameful low. It also highlights how extremists are being dangerously accommodated by sections of the Australian media pic.twitter.com/NUffO2DbXQ
— Tim Soutphommasane (@timsout) August 5, 2018
Cottrell was found guilty of is of inciting serious contempt for Muslims last year after protesting a mosque in Bendigo being built by posting a video of a fake beheading.
This is not the first time Sky News has made headlines in recent months over its on-air content, with the network suspending a producer of The Outsiders program who allowed crude comments made during the broadcast to appear in an on-screen strap.