Culture

People Are Very Upset That Andrew Bolt Is Speaking At The Festival Of Dangerous Ideas

One of his "dangerous ideas" had him successfully sued for racial discrimination.

The annual Festival of Dangerous Ideas is well known for provoking challenging and sensitive conversations. However this year’s line-up seems to be courting controversy before a speaker has even hit the stage. This afternoon, writer and actor from ABC’s Black Comedy Nakkiah Lui, wrote a Facebook post questioning the Festival of Dangerous Ideas’ decision to include Andrew Bolt in their line-up. In 2011, Andrew Bolt was successfully sued for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act through two articles in 2009: “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black”.

“I am so disgusted with the programming of Andrew Bolt, who has been successfully sued for his racist commentary, at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas,” Lui wrote. “That’s the most dangerous thing about Bolt at FODI — not the ideas of a racist — but the fact their actions in programming him now silence and disempower those who are already silenced.”

Lui urged people to contact the festival on social media and admonish them for “legitimising hate speech”. It isn’t just Nakkiah Lui who is disappointed in the decision either; others are equally unsure about hearing the “dangerous ideas” of someone who has previously been charged with racially vilifying indigenous Australians.

One can only assume that the decision to invite Andrew Bolt to appear at the festival speaks to the cyclical culture of internet outrage and the currency gained from making people fiercely angry. But being provocative or disruptive isn’t the same as engaging with damaging ideas about a community who often aren’t afforded a platform of their own. It isn’t just ‘dangerous’; it’s irresponsible and insensitive. It’s not a stretch to see how some think that celebrating Andrew Bolt’s capacity for having controversial ideas, is tantamount to condoning his racist behaviour.

You can view the full Festival of Dangerous Ideas program here.