News, Culture & Society

ABC Q+A host Stan Grant loses it at his own bosses in a very honest letter

Fed up ABC host Stan Grant goes rogue and loses it at his own bosses in a very honest letter: ‘There is no excuse for what I saw on air last night’

  • Q&A host Stan Grant sent an email to ABC
  • He slammed its NSW election coverage
  • He said the lack of panel diversity was ‘insulting’

Indigenous TV journalist Stan Grant has sent a letter to the ABC slamming the national broadcaster for its lack of diversity during its coverage of the NSW election.

The Q&A host sent the outraged letter to management on Sunday and ripped into his own employer for using an ‘entire white panel’ on during its state election coverage.

David Speers and Sarah Ferguson led the panel on Saturday night with appearances from NSW treasurer Matt Kean and Labor frontbencher Penny Sharpe.

Grant, a Wiradjuri man born in 1963, questioned how it was ‘acceptable’ and accused the broadcaster of using non-white journalists as ‘cameos’.

Grant said he was ‘fed up’ with the broadcaster claiming it was on a ‘journey’ towards diversity, and claimed ‘the dial has barely moved’ in 40 years.

He said he had seen no significant change in diversity or equity since joining the broadcaster 40 years ago and was ‘fed-up’ with its empty promises to lead change.

Q&A host Stan Grant (above) sent ABC’s top bosses a scathing email to slam its ‘entire white panel’ for its NSW election coverage

‘In 2023, how is it at all acceptable that an election night coverage features an entire white panel?,’ Grant wrote in a letter seen by Crikey.

‘This is not a criticism of my colleagues who are all well qualified, but it is a criticism of the ABC that for decades has nurtured and promoted white staff at the exclusion of others.

‘There is no excuse for what I saw on air last night. None. 

‘I have worked at organisations around the world and nowhere would what we presented last night be tolerated.’

Malaysian-born ABC journalist Jeremy Fernandez was one of the journalists Grant claims was reduced to a ‘cameo’ role, despite featuring in promotional material for the coverage.

During the show, Fernandez was tasked with explaining the ABC’s ‘big board’ that showed which way highlight seats were expected to fall.

‘The fact that any journalists of colour in our coverage were ‘off Broadway’ in support roles, reporting from the suburbs, only adds to the insult,’ he said. 

As an Indigenous man and the company’s First Nations journalist, Grant said he felt he had a responsibility to better the ABC.

‘I don’t do it for myself, I have had my career but I don’t want to wait another decade for things to change,’ he told Crikey.

Sarah Ferguson (left) and David Speers (right) led Saturday's panel, which Grant claims only featured 'cameos' from journalists of colour

Sarah Ferguson (left) and David Speers (right) led Saturday’s panel, which Grant claims only featured ‘cameos’ from journalists of colour

ABC Director News Justin Stevens told Daily Mail Australia the company values Grant’s input and ‘welcomes constructive discussion’.

‘Stan says the ABC is not yet where we want to be. I agree that we have a way to go,’ he said.

‘We respect Stan enormously. For decades he has been one of the highest-profile First Nations journalists in this country and with that he has carried the burden of fighting for the advancement of his First Nations and culturally diverse colleagues. 

‘That responsibility is on all of us to carry at the ABC and not him alone. As Stan said, Saturday’s NSW election coverage was editorially strong and well presented. 

‘It also showcased the terrific next generation talent we have coming through the NSW newsroom.’