The ABC has deleted a podcast by comedian Red Symons from its website after serious backlash on social media over his racist behaviour towards a fellow ABC journalist.
Symons interviewed Beverly Wang, who is of Asian heritage, for his podcast and asked her a series of “bonkers” questions, including “What’s the deal with Asians?” and “Are you yellow?”.
Wang had joined Symons to talk about her own Podcast, It’s Not A Race, and seemed incredulous at his increasingly personal and accusatory line of questioning.
Symons began the show by telling her he was upset with her because he had planned to do his own version of the topic.
“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 gamely.
“No, I ask the questions. 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.”
He then asked her: “Are you yellow?”
He later asked Wang if she was Chinese, to which she answered her parents were from Taiwan, but she was born in Canada.
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.”
Towards the end of the interview Symons forgot Wang’s first name and called her Jenny instead.
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 podcast was later published on the ABC website and it didn’t take long for the outrage to start pouring out on social media, with people taking to Twitter to vent their anger.
The ABC shouldn't pull the Red Symons audio. It should play it and play it again until we confront the ugly truth about racism in Australia.
— Joel Werner (@joelwerner) June 16, 2017
The ABC had not responded to Starts at 60’s request for comment at the time of publishing.