High-profile NRL presenter Erin Molan has responded to accusations of racism over a tone-deaf attempt at humour on 2GB last week.
Molan was heavily criticised for mocking the pronunciation of Pacific Islander names, saying ‘hooka looka mooka hooka fooka’.
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Nearly a week after the comments were first reported, Molan has issued a statement on Twitter, denying the comments were an ‘in-joke or inside joke’ and alleging the Daily Mail’s report was ‘misleading’ and contained a ‘number of untruths’.
The Daily Mail’s report cited a Channel 9 statement which claimed she was not mocking the names, but referring to an in-joke between father and son league commentators Chris and Ray Warren.
“I would like to publicly address the misleading and inaccurate pieces by The Daily Mail regarding the audio clip that went to air during the Continuous Call on 2GB,” Molan wrote on Twitter.
“These articles contain a number of untruths:
“1) It was not an ‘inside joke’. The words ‘in-joke’ or ‘inside joke’ have been directly attributed to me by the Daily Mail in headlines and the body of articles multiple times. It has also been repeated as fact in numerous other publications and in personal and public social media posts. The quote is completely made up.
“2) There was no discussion or segment last Saturday regarding how to pronounce Polynesian names – nor was I attempting to pronounce or ‘mock’ a Polynesian player’s name. My remarks were an attempt to reference a story that’s been told multiple times on-air. They were clumsy and inappropriate. I apologised on-air last Friday and that apology stands.
“3) There was no ‘refusal to apologise’. The same day the first Daily Mail article was published I went on 2GB Radio – where the original remarks were broadcast – and apologised.
“The reporting of this has been some of the most inaccurate, irresponsible and malicious I have seen. I have engaged a specialist defamation law firm.
“I have the utmost admiration and respect for the Polynesian community – especially those who play our game.”
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A number of NRL players have slammed Molan after the gaffe was passed off as an ‘inside joke’ between her and fellow commentator Darryl Brohman.
“It was an inside joke between colleagues so it’s OK,” Hopoate posted on Instagram on Monday with a photo of Molan.
“Just like when I accidentally trip this RACIST B***H over and she falls and scrapes her RACIST mouth on the ground.
“But I won’t apologise cause it’s an inside joke between friends.”
Hopoate responded to one user’s comment that “Racism is bad and so is bullying” by saying “bullying is good if they deserve it”.