It’s not funny, Matty…but he apologises

June 1, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Rugby League identity Matty Johns thought it was OK to have an image of Adolf Hitler photoshopped on a shot of fake fans watching a game without spectators.


But the joke turned sour when a member of the TV audience tweeted a screenshot and writing “is the below legit? How does this get approved?? Fox sports laughing about it as if it’s a joke. People really need an education of history”.

The tweet was picked up by Alex Ryvchin, the co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry who responded on Twitter “This sort of stupidity, the casualisation of Hitler, Nazis, and by extension their crimes, is what leads to swastikas being graffitied throughout our cities and school kids being harassed with gas chamber jokes. @FOXNRLLive & @MattyShowsFox should tell their viewers it’s not on.”

The incident follows a promotion by Fox Sports in which fans could upload their personal images to the channel and it would be part of the televised cardboard cutouts used to substitute the crowd at the fans-free game.

The Hitler image was not on the televised game but rather it had been photoshopped on to the image for Matty Johns’ show.

Matty Johns has apologised.

He said: “The segment on my FOX LEAGUE show on Sunday in which we showed an image of Hitler in crowd cut-outs was in poor taste and completely inappropriate.

I know FOX SPORTS has apologised but I need to personally step up to this.  I know how raw and devasting those events remain for so many people and families.

I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologise to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment.  I’ve reached out and spoken directly to Vic Alhadeff at the Jewish Board of Deputies this morning to apologise to the Jewish community and I’ll be apologising on air to all our viewers on Thursday night’s show.”

Vic Alhadeff said: “He acknowledged that the issue is very sensitive for members of the Jewish community and offensive to the Jewish community and should not have happened. He fully acknowledged that it was a poor error of judgment and in very poor taste, and I commend him for owning it and acknowledging it.”

The Federal Liberal MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma told J-Wire: “At a time when antisemitism is on the rise, this is totally inappropriate. There is nothing funny about this.

Whilst I am pleased that an apology has been issued, a network like Fox Sports should know better.”

The chairman of The Anti-Defamation Commission Dvir Abramovich stated: “This is bad taste and trivialisation of mass murder taken to the extreme.

When a monster such as Hitler, responsible for the deaths of millions of people, including 1.5 million children and more than 30,000 diggers, features as a punchline and a gag on a sports show you know we have hit
another low in the trivialisation of the Holocaust.

Nazi jokes should be completely off-limits and, the presenters and producers of the show crossed so many red lines, I stopped counting.  Using Hitler to elicit a laugh is inexcusable, degrades the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, and is hurtful to survivors and their children.

Maybe Matty Johns can explain to us what is remotely funny about a brutal dictator who caused the suffering, torture and death of so many men, women in the gas chambers?

This was a disturbing abdication of judgment and a troubling lack of sensitivity. Was there not a single person on Fox Sports to tell say that this was a terrible idea, that there was no humour to be milked from genocide?

I hope that the people involved in this sorry episode reflect on their actions and apologise for a sketch that simply went too far.”

The Australian has reported that sports journalists are also up in arms. “While some viewers defended the joke as an attempt at comedy, it also ruffled the feathers of several Aussie sports journalists. AFL media veteran Rohan Connolly wrote “please tell me this didn’t happen” and “you don’t make jokes about Hitler”.

A spokesman for Fox Sports Australia told J-Wire: “We are very concerned by an incident involving an inappropriate image shown as part of one of our live shows discussing NRL crowd cut-outs.  We are currently reviewing the circumstances and examining the action we need to ensure those involved understand it is not acceptable.  We sincerely apologise for the offence the image has caused.”




One Response to “It’s not funny, Matty…but he apologises”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    One has to wonder…….

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