With SBS refusing to address misogyny and death threats, the Housos Facebook page has added racism to their repertoire, writes Dr Benjamin Thomas Jones.
IN THE WAKE of sexual harassment and institutional sexism scandals, Australian Chief of Army David Morrison earned the respect of many with his sincere apology to the victims and denouncement of the offences.
It is not only those who commit vile acts against women that are to blame, he reminded us. Those who laugh it off, turn a blind eye or dismiss sexism or racism tacitly endorse it. Morrison challenged us all to be leaders, declaring:
“... the standard you walk past is the standard you accept."
What standards does the SBS hold?
Independent Australia has broken three stories listing the vile sexism and even death threats against Prime Minister Julia Gillard that are not only tolerated but prompted and supported by the Housos Facebook page. SBS may well stand for Silent ‘Bout Sexism. They have done nothing in response apart from attempt to censor Independent Australia and request that no more complaints be received.
SBS has sent a clear message to the Housos Facebook page: you can do or say anything as we lack the courage or will to stop you.
The Housos admins responded in kind with a blatant display of racism.
Yesterday, the page posted a picture of Maori actor Kevin Takamata – one of the stars of the show – next to a picture of a man in a monkey costume with the caption: “Kev’s long lost brother”:
Over 2,000 people liked the picture; two claimed it was racist.
Those two were then subjected to the usual torrent of abuse that flows in the direction of anyone who challenges the Housos page. The Housos Admin even stepped in to repudiate the claim stating:
“How is that racism ? All Maoris look like a banana split ? Go back to political correct land !”
The Admin was doubtless trying – and failing – to be funny.
The monkey costume was originally worn on an American children’s show from the late 1960s called the Banana Splits. The audacity and vulgarity of the comment and the picture is incredible. Given the recent controversy after Indigenous AFL star Adam Goodes being called an ape – first by a young Collingwood fan then through inference by Eddie McGuire – you would think only a person devoid of any cultural sensitivity could find this funny.
The blame, however, must be laid squarely at the feet of SBS.
It is their egregious disregard for their own charter and standards that has given the Housos Admins carte blanche to post anything they like, safe in the knowledge the airtime and promotional dollars will continue to flow in. SBS utterly failed its viewers by taking no stand at all against sexism, why would anyone expect them to respond to racism?
SBS does not run the Housos Facebook page — as they remind us ad nauseum. But they do have a responsibility to their viewers to only promote and air shows that comply with their charter. Housos is set to be aired on SBS next month. If they have any standards, any respect for the rights of women or Indigenous people; if they want to even pretend that their charter is more than empty rhetoric — then they must confront this issue.
If there is a moral fibre left in the operations of SBS they will tell the Housos admins to either remove the blatant sexist and racist content from their page, or pull the plug from future airings of the show.
The standards you walk past, SBS, are most certainly the standards you accept.
If you would like to complain to SBS about this matter, please do so here.
(Read more by Benjamin Thomas Jones on his blog Thematic musings.)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License