Daryl Somers hits back after racism backlash
Gold Logie winner Daryl Somers has condemned racism amid backlash over old videos from Hey Hey It's Saturday.
Somers, who was recently announced as a co-host on the new season of Dancing With The Stars, made headlines last week after criticising political correctness and cancel culture.
Soon after, old videos resurfaced on social media showing Somers, 69, in blackface on former Channel 9 TV show Hey Hey It's Saturday and him mocking singer Kamahl, 86, which the Malaysian-born musician - otherwise known as Kandiah Kamalesvaran - recently described as "humiliating" and "disgusting".
"I want to make it very clear that I and all members of the Hey Hey team do not condone racism in any form," Somers wrote in a Facebook statement.
"I have always considered Kamahl a friend and supporter of the show, so I deeply regret any hurt felt by him as a result of anything that took place on the programme in the past.
"I wholeheartedly support diversity in the Australian entertainment industry and I am committed to continuous learning and development in that regard."
The newly-resurfaced videos from Hey Hey It's Saturday include several offensive segments, including racist jokes and caricatures of Kamahl which have drawn criticism.
One particular skit from the early 1980s shows the acclaimed singer being hit in the face with a white powder-puff while voice-over artist John Blackman said: "You're a real white man now, Kamahl, you know that?"
In his statement, Somers said the comedy show, which ran for 29 seasons between 1971 and 2010, was never intended to upset anyone and he's proud of the show's success.
"Hey Hey It's Saturday never set out to offend anybody but always strived to provide family entertainment," Somers wrote.
"I am proud of the fact that it was the longest running comedy/variety programme on Australian television lasting for thirty years.
"I certainly appreciate, however, that in the context of modern society some material from the past is plainly inappropriate, and would not go to air today."
During an interview on The Project this week, Kamal said he was "disgusted" by the incidents and felt "humiliated".
Originally published as Daryl Somers hits back after racism backlash