Former AFL star’s offensive Jewish slur

May 26, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Melbourne’s The Footy Show has apologised for remarks made describing a former football star as being very Jewish and had never bought anyone a drink.

Mal Brown Photo: YouTube

Mal Brown Photo: YouTube

Former Richmond player Mal Brown was describing Kevin Bartlett who also played for the club saying “he was very Jewish, he never bought a drink in his life”.

The Age posted on its Facebook page “The Sunday Footy Show has apologised for an anti-Semitic remark made by former Richmond hard man Mal Brown, when talking about former teammate Kevin Bartlett”.

The Age reported: “A spokeswoman for Nine, owner of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, said: ‘The comments made today were in poor taste and we don’t condone those stereotypes. We apologise for any offence it may have caused’.”

Co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim told J-Wire: “It’s disheartening that even in this day and age casual antisemitic comments of the kind made by Mal Brown can go to air in a public broadcast.  Young people, in particular, look to sports stars and former sports stars as role models, and Brown set them a very poor example when he made those comments.  The cumulative effect of public figures resorting to racist stereotypes is to make bigotry seem acceptable. 

That subtle impact means that such comments cannot be dismissed as a bit of harmless humour.  Good on Tony Jones, who hosted the show, for apologising on air for Brown’s comments. Brown should have done the same.”

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission,  commented: “While we welcome the swift apology issued by Channel Nine, Mal Brown now needs to do the right thing and withdraw his thoughtless and hurtful slur.

While we value the role of humour, sports figures, who are often role models, need to mindful of not peddling offensive and demeaning stereotypes, especially those that are rooted in classic anti-Semitism, and which
generate laughter at the expense of others. Putting down any religious group by suggesting that they are stingy and cheap is simply unacceptable and never funny.

Mal Brown crossed the line with this tasteless remark that called up ethnic slurs, and should realise that such language only compounds damaging, pre-existing biases. And though he may not be aware of this, I will remind Mal Brown that it is often students a school who the pay the price for such smears by being victimised at school with crude, harmful comments.

We do hope Mal Brown understands the pain that he caused and refrains from using similar rhetoric in the future.”

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