"What’s the deal with Asians?"
Australian broadcaster Red Symons has been slammed for racism following an inappropriate podcast interview.
As reported by news.com.au, Symons had invited ABC journalist and producer Beverley Wang onto his podcast to ask her about her own podcast,’It’s Not A Race’.
The interview went downhill when Symons said he wasn’t happy with Wang’s podcast because wanted to launch his own segment tackling similar issues.
“Except my segment was called ‘What’s the deal with Asians?’” he told her.
“Well let’s tackle that. What is the deal with Asians, Red?” asked Wang..
“No, I ask the questions,” Symons snapped back.” What’s the deal with Asians? It’s just a useful, general question about the nature of our culture, and how one should interact with people who have a different cultural background.”
The presenter had another question for his guest, “Are you yellow?”
He then turned to ask Wang about her background, to which she revealed she was born in Canada to a Taiwanese family. Symons then asked “what sort of boat” her ancestors used to flee China.
Symons: “Do they speak Mandarin or Cantonese?”
Wang: “Who’s ‘they’?”
Symons: “THE PEOPLE IN TAIWAN.”
Wang: “They speak Taiwanese and they speak Mandarin. And in Canada where I’m from, they speak English and French.”
Symons: “I knew that. You’re probably from the west coast of Canada.”
Wang: “Why do you think that, Red?”
Symons: “Because it’s closer to ASIA.”
Wang: “I’m just asking, don’t get defensive.”
After a while, Symons even forgot his guest’s name.
Symons: “Given that you were born in Canada, you were probably named ‘Jenny’ when you were born.”
Symons: “Beverley. Considering you were born in Canada, you were probably named ‘Beverley’ when you were born.”
Wang: “That’s a fair assumption to make, Red, that I was given a name when I was born.”
Symons: “Was Beverley the name you were given?”
Wang: “My name IS Beverly, it has been Beverley since birth.”
The link to the podcast has since been removed from the ABC website, but you can hear the entire interview below.
Nonetheless, a number of listeners recognised the absurdity of the interview, even though Symons’ fellow ABC presenter Jonathan Green tried to defend him.
I say this as a friend of Red Symons: this is audio he never imagined would see the light of day. ugly, but in its way private. i’m uneasy.
— Jonathan Green (@GreenJ) June 16, 2017
But the unprepared approach,let alone the racist rubbish, made his guest waste her time. It’s about respect for the work you’re doing.
— Julia Zemiro (@julia_zemiro) June 16, 2017
say what? No way. It was a recorded interview.
— Emeline Gaske (@emelinegaske) June 16, 2017
“ok I’m here for the podcast, your not recording this right?”. So is this what happened
— Mike is board (@Cerealkilaa) June 16, 2017
Well, for one thing, they invented the gong. pic.twitter.com/CGH9K3COgP
— Tony Martin (@mrtonymartin) June 16, 2017
— Alistair Kitchen (@alistairkitchen) June 15, 2017
I lasted four minutes on the Red Symons/Beverley Wang interview. I’m impressed I went THAT long.
— DJY Soundsystem (@DJYwrites) June 15, 2017
— Melanie Tait (@MelanieTait) June 15, 2017
This red symons interview with beverley wang is absolutely bonkers. Hey Hey incident – “alleged to be blackface” https://t.co/K4NVFEetvJ
— Bec Shaw (@Brocklesnitch) June 15, 2017
Symons has since apologised for the interview.
“I came across as racist and I was wrong in the way I conducted the interview,” Symons said. “This is not who I am and I acknowledge that on this occasion I caused offence and hurt not only to Beverley but to our listeners.
“The plan was to take on a serious topic, race and culture, and talk with Beverley about a range of related issues. I offer my sincerest apologies. We need to talk about these issues but be careful how we consider them.”