ABC refers ‘sickening’ racist harassment of Tony Armstrong to police

ABC sports journalist Tony Armstrong says he will continue to call out racism.

ABC sports journalist Tony Armstrong says he will continue to call out racism. Photo: ABC News Breakfast screenshot

The ABC has referred a “sickening” racist email to police which was sent to sports presenter Tony Armstrong and called him “aboriginal filthy scum”.

Armstrong posted a screenshot on Twitter of the abusive and somewhat incoherent letter that was sent to his work email address.

The content was seemingly in response to the ABC News Breakfast host calling out mining magnate Gina Rinehart for not speaking out against her father Lang Hancock’s shocking views on Indigenous Australians.

The email to Armstrong — which stated that the “abbo bulls— needs to stop” — was also sent to right-wing public commentators including News Corp columnist Peter Gleeson, radio host Alan Jones and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

The vile email made reference to Armstrong’s recent appearance on The Project in which he spoke about Gina Rinehart.

Armstrong, a proud Gamilaroi man, tweeted that “this s— has gotta stop” and vowed he would not be silenced from speaking up against racism.

“One thing is for certain though, this isn’t guna stop us speaking up or stepping up,” he wrote.

Armstrong’s post received a flood of support from the public and his colleagues including ABC News Breakfast presenter Michael Rowland who said: “They’re out there. Sorry you have to deal with this mate.”

In a media statement, ABC Director (News) Justin Stevens said “this racist harassment is sickening”.

“The ABC is taking a range of actions to support Tony Armstrong, including referring the matter to police,” said Mr Stevens.

“We are currently conducting a bigger project on the abuse and harassment of ABC employees, including on social media, and examining all the options open to us to ensure the wellbeing of our people.

“Our journalists should not be attacked or subjected to abuse for doing their jobs.”

During an appearance on Channel Ten’s The Project last week, Armstrong was critical of media going into “overdrive” with positive articles about Ms Rinehart’s “philanthropic niceness” after her company withdrew $15 million sponsorship from the Diamonds netball team.

“The fact remains that what her dad said while at the helm of Hancock Prospecting is hands down the worst thing anything could say about another race” said Armstrong on the show.

“Let’s be clear, he was not a senile blow-in who got drunk and shot his mouth off. He was the mining pioneer who started the company. He was the one who handed the reins to Gina. He believed every one of those words.”

In a 1984 interview, Mr Hancock advocated sterilising some of the Aboriginal community so they would “breed themselves out”.

Ms Rinehart has not publicly addressed her father’s views since the sponsorship controversy emerged.

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