Channel 7 under fire for ‘racist’ report
CHANNEL 7 current affairs show Sunday Night is under fire over claims that its report on Melbourne's African gangs was race baiting.
Comedian Meshel Laurie is among the Melburnians to slam the story, saying the report - which alleged the city had been overrun with African gangs - was "racist bulls**t".
Reporter Alex Cullen introduced the story: "Barely a week goes by that they're not in the news.
"African gangs running riot, terrorising, robbing, wreaking havoc.
"Yet we live in such politically correct times, the police have been loath to admit there's even a problem - but there is."
Even before the segment went to air, Sunday Night was copping criticism across social media.
Eagle-eyed viewers pointed out the footage used in the program was more than three years old.
"See the first scene? Flinders Street has been painted since then, and was covered in scaffolding for the two years before that. See the second scene? I don't know if you've ever been to Melbourne, but there is a HUGE bloody hole there that has been there for 2 years," Twitter user Alan Baxter wrote.
The segment was also panned by community leaders from South Sudan, the country Channel 7 claimed most of Australia's "African criminals" came from.
Melbourne-based litigation lawyer Maker Mayek, who is originally from South Sudan, tweeted up a storm before and after the program aired, urging viewers to change the channel.
The Twitter hashtag #NotMyAustralia also became one of the top trending hashtags in the country as the program went to air.
Hundreds of people also called for Channel 7 to instead focus on Australia's rising domestic violence rates after the deaths of women including Eurydice Dixon and Xi Yu.
The Sunday Night program also aired an interview with Melbourne woman Elaine French, who was working at a high-end jewellery store in Toorak when it was robbed by a group of men.
Described as a "broken woman", Ms French said the robbery had ruined her life.
"I don't have a life anymore. These four walls is where I live. I'm too nervy. I can't go to a shopping centre because if I ran into a coloured person I'd be having a panic attack again," she said.
The robbery took place a year ago and Ms French was interviewed for the Channel 7 program last night.
When Ms French is asked by Cullen what she thought a "just punishment would be" she said she wanted the robbers "deported back to where they came from".
The African gangs stereotype hit the media in January after a number of Sudanese people living in Melbourne were accused of crimes.
The hysteria peaked when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said people in Melbourne were "too scared to go to restaurants because of African gang violence".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in on the hysteria in January, accusing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of failing to deal with gang violence in Melbourne.
But the Prime Minister's comments were called out by an African community leader who accused him of using Sudanese "street gang" problems in Victoria to score political points.
Richard Deng, of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, said the Prime Minister was jumping on the issue as a "tool to win elections".
"The Prime Minister needs to man up, support the State Government, support the African community, don't target them just because of the political agenda you want to drive," he said at a press conference in January.
News.com.au invited Channel 7 to respond to the criticisms but is yet to receive a response.