Culture

The ABC Put A Call To Air Praising Hitler For Exterminating Gay People

This is the respectful debate.

The ABC has put a caller to air who said that one of the two things Adolf Hitler got right was the murder of gay people in concentration camps — the second thing was building the autobahn.

The man, identified as Don, called ABC 774’s Mornings with Jon Faine to complain about Faine’s studio guest, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton.

Don said that Hilton, who was advocating a Yes vote in the upcoming postal survey on marriage equality, was out of line and should remain neutral on such contentious social issues.

“I think it’s disgusting that she gets out and says ‘we are going to support the Yes vote’, instead of saying ‘we haven’t got an opinion one way or the other’,” Don said.

Hilton explained that it’s the commission’s duty to promote equality and reduce discrimination in Victoria. “The commission has taken this very deliberate and positive support in marriage equality, because we believe… that the current restrictions on same-sex couples being allowed to marry constitutes discrimination,” she said.

The conversation continued for around a minute until Faine attempted to wrap it up, before Don asked to say one more thing.

“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.

A disbelieving Faine then asked Don to repeat himself, which he did twice, before Faine ended the call.

ABC Defends Call Procedure

“ABC Radio Melbourne presenter, Jon Faine, put to air a call this morning from a person identified as ‘Don’.  The call lasted just under three minutes and was civil until the caller made a highly offensive remark referencing Hitler.  Once Jon had clarified what the caller had said, the call was immediately terminated,” an ABC spokesperson told Junkee.

When asked why the call wasn’t “dumped” so that the offensive comment wouldn’t make it to air, the spokesperson said the call was dumped “as soon as it became obvious that the caller was being offensive”.

“For most of the three minutes the call wasn’t deemed to be offensive,” the spokesperson said.

The in the day, the ABC tweeted audio of the call in its entirety. Junkee has chosen not to embed the call in this article. We strongly recommend you don’t go and seek it out.

Tiernan Brady, the Executive Director of the Equality Campaign, told Junkee the call was a reminder of the need for respectful debate.

“This type of comment is repugnant to almost every Australian and the values of respect and fairness that have underpinned our nation,” he said.

“We must never forget that this is a survey about real people’s lives. It is about the members of our families, our friends, neighbours and workmates who just happen to be gay and simply wish to have the same status and dignity in law. The Equality Campaign will not be provoked. We remain totally committed to a campaign of respect and dignity that aims to unite Australians not divide them.

The call came on the same day that former Resources Minister Matt Canavan said people concerned about the tenor of the marriage debate should “grow a spine”, and the federal government’s National Mental Health Commission released a statement expressing concern for LGBTQI+ Australians’ mental health.

If you’d like to talk to someone after reading this (or at any point during the marriage equality campaign), QLife is a national counselling service for LGBTQI+ people, which operates between 3pm and midnight AEST every day. You can get in touch with them by calling 1800 184 527, or visiting their website if you’d prefer or require a text-based chat.

Read about your other options here.