Boycott her: Ugly new fallout in Erin Molan 'racism' saga

Erin Molan has copped backlash after making a joke about the names of players from Pacific Island nations. Pic: Getty

Channel Nine rugby league presenter Erin Molan is facing renewed backlash after being criticised for mocking the names of players from Pacific Island nations.

In a segment with 2GB radio’s ‘The Continuous Call’ recently, Molan was on air with Darryl Brohman and Mark Levy when she sparked controversy with an ill-conceived joke at the expense of Polynesian players

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Discussing the pronunciation of Pacific Islander names in the NRL, Molan said ‘hooka looka mooka hooka fooka’ - prompting her confused co-hosts to quickly change the subject.

The incident caused outrage in the rugby league community with New Zealand and Manly star Martin Taupau among those in the game to condemn the presenter.

Molan claimed that the comment was meant to be a harmless in-joke with her colleagues, unaware at how offensive it actually was to Polynesian players.

Junior Poluleuligaga has called on Polynesian players to take a stand against Erin Molan until she apologises. Pic: Getty

Now New Zealand-born Samoa rugby star Augustino Junior Poluleuligaga has called on players to boycott being involved in broadcasts with Molan, until she issues an apology.

“I hope the poly boys in the NRL decline her when being asked to do an interview or anything to do with her until she apologises," he wrote.

"I know how it feels. It used to make me feel embarrassed + angry when I should have been feeling proud along with my family. Inside joke my ass."

Molan had an opportunity to issue an apology on Sunday when she hosted Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

The fact that the TV host failed to do so, prompted another wave of backlash from viewers, many of whom accused her of perpetuating “racism”.

Molan’s comments deemed deeply disrespectful

Taupau, who is also of Samoan heritage, said his grandfather would be ‘turning in his grave’ over Molan’s insensitive remark.

“Understandable for our non-Pasifika community attempting to properly announce our names, but to disrespect and make a mockery of former/current Pasifika players in the NRL like how you carried on is DISGRACEFUL!” Taupau wrote.

“My grandfather would be tossing in his grave in anger!”

Cronulla forward Braden Hamlin-Uele took to his Instagram story to criticise Molan, suggesting if she didn’t understand what her words meant, she should get off the air.

“An inside joke? Show some respect!,” Hamlin-Uele said in an Instagram story.

“If that’s a joke between colleagues then F that workplace. Get out of the job @ErinMolan.

“Disgusting to even think that would be ok, to put on an accent and say that. Wake up to yourself.”

Molan and Channel 9 have defended the gaffe, telling the Daily Mail the former Footy Show host was just referencing an earlier story Brohman had told and that any perceived racial insensitivity on Molan’s part was just a ‘misunderstanding’.

The backlash to Molan’s comments has been significant, with Pacific Island and Indigenous journalists in particular appalled by their Channel 9 colleague’s words.

Manly's Martin Taupau labelled Molan's remarks disrespectful. Pic: Getty

NITV reporter Madeline Hayman-Reber said Molan clearly did not understand why what she had said was deeply offensive.

“A disgusting display of racism made even more racist by her failure to recognise, understand, or learn. This is white Australia,” she wrote.

ABC presenter Tali Aualiitia said being able to pronounce Pacific Island names was part of Molan’s job, not a punchline.

“Erin Molan works in rugby league and, there are a bloody lot of Pacific players. It’s literally her job to say these names and, to do the work to same them right,” Aualiitia wrote.

“What she fails to understand, is that a Pacific name is not just a surname. It’s your ancestors, your village, your people, your country.

“We wear our names with pride and they are not there to be made a mockery of – even as a joke with your co-worker.”