John Hopoate has taken the backlash against Erin Molan to disturbing new levels, threatening the NRL presenter with violence.
Molan is at the centre of controversy after appearing to mock the names of Polynesian players during an on-air gaffe on 2GB radio last week.
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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.
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.
But Hopoate has now weighed in and taken things way too far.
“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”.
Kerri-Anne Kennerly slams John Hopoate
Hopoate was widely condemned for the disturbing comments, with Kerri-Anne Kennerley describing his attack as ‘disgraceful’.
“I know her and I really like her. For any boofhead to come out and suggest violence against any woman … that behaviour has to be called out,” Kennerley told the Daily Telegraph.
“It drives me mad in this climate that the people who are so politically correct are the most intolerant people of anyone else.
“(Molan) is not a malicious person and wouldn’t do anything deliberately hurtful.”
Hiding behind the racism argument to promote violence against women is NEVER OK John Hopoate— Jason Ham (@the_jham) June 8, 2020
Head up @Erin_Molan everyone is just looking to be a victim. Once upon a time an album called the twelth man was released, it was funny and done in a respectful manner as comedy should be, you did nothing wrong. John Hopoate is an idiot simply looking for another headline.— Anthony Faulding (@tonyfaulding) June 8, 2020
Manly superstar Martin Taupau was among a number of NRL players to hit out at Molan.
Taupau, who is of Samoan heritage, took to Twitter on Friday evening to declare his grandfather would be ‘turning in his grave’ over Molan’s attempts at humour.
“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!”
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! My grandfather would be tossing in his grave in anger!🤬@Erin_Molan https://t.co/CTMuzHEatl— Martin Taupau (@MartyKapow) June 5, 2020
Cronulla forward Braden Hamlin-Uele was also fuming.
“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.”
And New Zealand-born Samoa rugby star Augustino Junior Poluleuligaga called on players to boycott being involved in broadcasts with Molan.
“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.”
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 apologizes. 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 👊🏽 https://t.co/VmQYME1e1x— Tino Junior Poluleuligaga (@JIP2EZY) June 8, 2020
Erin Molan misses chance to apologise
Molan and Channel Nine defended the gaffe, telling the Daily Mail she was just referencing an earlier story Brohman had told and that any perceived racial insensitivity on Molan’s part was just a ‘misunderstanding’.
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.
On radio we say a lot of Pacific names - I know they’re not easy - but, we try really, really hard to get them right. I’ve watched presenters practice and practice the names and then not get them 100% right and be really disappointed with themselves when they get off air— Tali Aualiitia (@taliaualiitia) June 5, 2020
A disgusting display of racism made even more racist by her failure to recognise, understand, or learn. This is white Australia. https://t.co/YOGOUO55MY— Madeline Hayman-Reber (@MadelineHayman) June 5, 2020