Politics

ABC Is Under Fire For Pulling An Episode of ‘Q&A’ After Complaints It “Endorsed Violence”

The episode attracted hundreds of complaints -- but why?

Q&A pull controversial episode

The ABC has launched an internal investigation into whether an episode of Q&A broke editorial standards.

According to a statement, the episode, which featured guests such as columnist Mona Eltahawy and writer Nayuka Gorrie, might have “called for or endorsed violence.” It also featured “offensive language.”

The comments under investigation appear to include some made by Eltahawy and Gorrie.

While discussing sexual violence against women, Eltahawy wondered aloud, “How many rapists must we kill?”

Later, Gorrie discussed violence in the context of anti-colonial protests. “I think violence … is OK because if someone is trying to kill you, there’s no amount of, ‘Oh, but I’m really clever.’ You know, ‘I’m really articulate.’ No amount of that is going to save you. So, yeah, let’s burn stuff.”

The episode has attracted hundreds of complaints, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. While the investigation is underway, the Q&A episode has been pulled from streaming service iView.

But the public response has not entirely been on ABC’s side. In fact, a number of leading intellectuals have decried the move as a hypocritical one, pointing out that right-wing commentators frequently discuss violence on air and receive little more than a slap on the wrist.

For instance, Prue MacSween took to 2GB to say that she’d be tempted to run over writer and academic Yassmin Abdel-Magied with her car. After outrage from listeners, 2GB defended the comments as being “light-hearted” and “non-literal”.

Yumi Stynes has read the controversy over the episode as proof of “bullshit double standards to women.” Elsewhere, writer Miki Perkins has noted that people should get as “riled by the patriarchy as they do by women saying swears.”

In the aftermath, Eltahawy has defended her comments to Buzzfeed News. “”I’m not saying go out and kill people,” she told the site.

The ABC will hand down their decision on the episode in the coming weeks.