SBS ‘like a lamington’: Broadcaster fails diversity test
Multicultural broadcaster SBS has come under fire from its own journalists for failing the diversity test with a completely white leadership team.
SBS managing director James Taylor last night conceded the taxpayer-funded TV channel "still has a way to go" to reflect the diversity of its intended audience "among our senior leadership team".
The criticism erupted on social media after former journalist and now Mystery Road screenwriter Kodie Bedford described having her "self-esteem destroyed" during her time working at the supposedly-diverse broadcaster.
"I still carry trauma and feel sick about it," she said on Twitter, before adding yesterday: "I'm not bitter towards SBS either. But the system is still broken."
SBS Homecoming Queens screenwriter Michelle Law responded by posting a photograph of the SBS leadership team on Twitter with the caption: "What in White hell @SBS".
The eight member government appointed SBS board includes the chair of the indigenous media peak body Dorothy West and people of Greek, Italian and Indian heritage. But the internally appointed leadership team has no ethnic diversity.
Musician and academic on indigenous languages Dr Lou Bennett responded to the photo of the leadership team on Twitter saying: "Jesus, Mary n Joseph that's a white wash."
Another wrote: "I thought I was going mad when I worked there, felt like no one else saw it or if they did, were quiet about it. Sad thing is, has been like that for ages."
ABC journalist Louise Milligan also questioned the make-up of the SBS leadership team on Twitter.
"I'm sure these are all smart, talented people, but did no one pause to think a broadcaster dedicated to diversity & multiculturalism should also reflect diversity & multiculturalism? How does this happen in 2020?" she wrote.
SBS journalist Amos Roberts tweeted that the same problems existed at the ABC.
"As a white journo at Dateline I'm sickened and ashamed to read this. I saw this happen at the ABC as a cadet in the mid '90s and I really hoped that we'd got better, but obviously not."
The ABC board and leadership team are also all white.
A spokesman for the ABC directed questions to the ABC's Diversity and Inclusion plan which said its diversity "strategy must be driven from the top".
When I worked at SBS more than 10 years ago, we used to say it’s becoming a lamington, black on the outside...— Jaguar (@TheJaguaress) June 30, 2020
Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications at free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs said: "Having for decades promulgated the divisive framework of identity politics onto mainstream Australians, it is difficult to have much sympathy for the SBS, whose entire leadership team happens to be white."
Mr Taylor said he recognised that representation matters. "We still have a way to go to reflect the diversity of the audiences we serve among our senior leadership team,'' he said.
Originally published as SBS 'like a lamington': broadcaster fails cultural diversity test