Politics

Here’s Why The ABC Let A Call Praising Hitler For Killing Gays Go To Air

They did Nazi it coming.

The ABC has attempted to explain how a caller who praised Hitler for exterminating gays was allowed to go to air, then re-promoted online — but the explanation doesn’t really stack up.

Yesterday Junkee reported that a caller to ABC 774’s Mornings with Jon Faine program had praised Adolf Hitler for murdering thousands of gay men in concentration camps in World War II. The caller, identified as Don, said that interning gays in concentration camps was one of two good things Hitler did (the other was building the autobahn).

“Hitler had put all those kind of people in their own concentration camps – it’s one of the two good things he did,” Don said.

Faine was widely criticised on social media for allowing the call to go to air, for twice asking Don to repeat himself and for not dumping the call sooner. Radio stations often work on a seven-second delay, meaning they’re able to “dump” offensive audio to ensure it doesn’t go to air.

Following the call, Faine told listeners he chose not to dump the call because he wanted to show some of the arguments being promoted by No voters, but that explanation has now been contradicted by the ABC.

ABC Offers Contradictory Explanations

In an initial response to Junkee on Monday, an ABC spokesperson claimed that the call was “dumped” by Faine as soon as he realised what was being said. It appears the spokesperson meant that Faine simply ended the call, and did not “dump” the offensive audio.

“The call was ‘dumped’ as soon as it became obvious that the caller was being offensive,” the spokesperson said. “For most of the three minutes the call wasn’t deemed to be offensive.”

Responding to follow-up questions, the spokesperson confirmed that producers missed an opportunity to dump the call because Faine had asked Don to repeat himself twice, meaning the seven-second delay was no longer viable.

“All broadcast is on delay,” the spokesperson said. “By the time Jon had clarified what the caller ‘Don’ had said, the ‘dump’ option was no longer viable, hence Jon’s actions to terminate the call when he did.”

The ABC was also criticised for using the full audio of the call in social media promotions following the show, in apparent contradiction of the acknowledgement that the call should not have gone to air in the first place.

Both the tweet and the Facebook post were made after media enquiries were made. The ABC has now apologised for re-promoting the audio.

“It was wrong for ABC Radio to have tweeted this interview due to the offensive nature of the content. The ABC apologises for this error,” the spokesperson said.

The tweet and the Facebook post have now been deleted.

Rob Stott is the Managing Editor of Junkee Media. Follow him here: @Rob_Stott