Kerri-Anne Kennerley isn’t one to keep her thoughts to herself on Studio 10 – making her one of the most popular presenters on the show – but it ended in a very fiery clash on Monday’s episode.
The co-host, 65, locked horns with former The Circle star Yumi Stynes, 43, over the Australia Day celebrations, with Stynes claiming she sounded “racist” during the row.
The panel began the discussion by addressing a Sydney hotel that had reportedly banned patrons from wearing Australian flag-themed outfits over the weekend. It prompted Kennerley to hit out at the Invasion Day protesters in Sydney’s CBD as a whole.
“What about the 5000 people who went through the streets making their point known?” she asked.
“Has any single one of those 5000 people waving the flags saying how inappropriate the day is, has any one of them been out to the outback where children, where babies and five-year-olds are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education.”
“What have you done?” she asked, clearly very angry at this point. “Zippo!”
Stynes then responded: “That is not even faintly true Kerri-Anne and you’re sounding quite racist now.”
“I’m offended by that, Yumi,” Kennerley replied, to which Stynes added: “Well keep going then, because every time you open your mouth, you’re sounding racist.”
Reiterating how offended she felt at the statement, Kennerley pointed out that she “didn’t have any proof” that the protesters had “gone to help”.
Refusing to back down, Stynes claimed that the TV star was implying that “women aren’t being raped here in big cities and children aren’t being raped here in big cities”.
Moving on slightly, Kennerley then insisted that it’s Aboriginal elder women who desperately need the help, adding of the protesters: “Where are these people on one day of the year? You’d be better off going and doing something positive.”
To which Stynes concluded: “With that statement, you’re actually implying that those 5000 protesters, none of whom you know personally, are all lazy and idle and indolent.”
The row got a mixed response from viewers, with one commenting on Twitter: “There is nothing racist about speaking out about the atrocious way indigenous people are treated & living. Kerri-Anne is right to point it out.”
Another added: “I think Yumi went for the high morale ground effect and didn’t really get what was being said .. well done KaK and Joe.”
But others backed Stynes with one writing: “Glad that @yumichild was there or that would have been a very one sided debate.”
And one fan simply wrote: “The best debate Studio 10 has had in 18 mnths. Bravo.”