DESCRIBING the sacking of SBS sports journalist Scott McIntyre over offensive tweets about ANZAC Day as an attack on free speech is “absurd”, Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner has argued.
On Saturday evening, the high-profile SBS soccer reporter tweeted a number of “highly inappropriate and disrespectful comments” about the ANZACs and Australia’s involvement in numerous wars.
“Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan,” Mr McIntyre tweeted to his 30,000 followers.
He described Australians celebrating ANZAC Day as “poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers”, and accused Australia and its allies of the “largest single-day terrorist attacks in history” in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
So the Axis powers were the victims in WWII and the ANZACs were rapists in his world view.
Writing in The Australian newspaper today, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said Mr McIntyre had not been censored as his tweets did not break any law.
“Decrying McIntyre’s dismissal as a free speech violation and censorship is absurd,” he wrote. “McIntyre was free to tweet his bile before he worked for SBS, while he worked for SBS and now that he no longer works for SBS.
“SBS simply decided it didn’t want to be associated with him. No one is guaranteed a job. Employers are not compelled to put up with behaviour that harms their public reputation.”
Accountability is essential to ensure free speech is exercised with respect for others, he said, adding that the issue is not free speech but “how an increasingly hysterical culture led by social media is resulting in people losing their jobs”.
“McIntyre is not alone. Had he tweeted content interpreted as homophobic, racist or sexist, some would be calling on SBS to sack him, not tweeting ‘free speech’,” Mr Wilson wrote.
They very same people I suspect.
“Perhaps McIntyre’s sacking will be a lesson that always calling for retribution against opinions you disagree with is a double-edged sword that can slay your enemies as well as your friends.”
I doubt the lesson will be learnt. In NZ we see now regular attempts by some on the left to get Hosking and Henry sacked for their views – by trying to induce advertiser boycotts.