Ita Buttrose called for a return to civil debate and described Stan Grant’s abuse on social media as “unacceptable”.
The ABC president also called on ABC management to support staff who had been subjected to abuse, but says they were not made aware of Grant’s situation “until quite late in the piece.”
“Our audience research shows us that 75% of people think our content reflects the diversity of Australia. I think what management needs to do is make sure they support the people making that content when they are subjected to racist behavior. It’s unacceptable and I’m appalled at what Stan has been through. If I had known earlier, I would have told him about it. But I didn’t know that and I don’t think many of us did until it’s quite late in the piece,” he told her.
Talking with ABC Radio Melbourne today said: “I think Stan has learned a lesson for the whole community from stepping back, I think the strong public reaction has led to what I would call one of the most widespread public commentary rants about public life, that we have seen for a long time.
“People are tired of the abusive and toxic culture that pervades our public discourse, whether it be poor social issues, politics… sadly we live in an age where people think it is okay to abuse others they are not with agree.
“We can no longer have a real discussion in Australia. I think Australians want a return to civilization in public life and I think that as a community we need to reflect on the abhorrent and unacceptable behavior emerging on social media and lead the way for a return to civilization in public debate.”
Buttrose told ABC Radio that many emails he had received indicated broad support for the D+R guest.
“We are providing all the support we can get to Stan, and his family, and hope he returns to our program as soon as he feels ready to return. It’s Stan’s turn. I think he took eight weeks off and I understand that. But I hold Stan in high regard, as do many of our listeners.