ABC presenter racially abused by bus passenger

jerferABC News 24 presenter Jeremy Fernandez was subjected to racial abuse on a Sydney bus in front of his 2 year old daughter.

Fernandez tweeted today:

“Just had my own Rosa Parks moment: Kept my seat on a #Sydney Bus after being called a black c**t & told to go back to my country.

“Anyone who says racism is dying is well and truly mistaken. Coppef 15 mins of racial abuse. Bus driver said ‘your fault for not moving).

“Worst thing is- i had my 2yo daughter with me. She had her primary school aged kids with her. All heard every word of her racist rant

“It’s a sad thing when a coloured man in 2013 has to show his kid how to hold their nerve in the face of racist taunts.”

Rosa Parks, was an African-American woman who in 1955 refused to give up her seat in the coloured section of a bus to a white man after the whites-only section had filled up. The U.S. Congress later called “the first lady of civil rights.”

NSW State Transit has contacted the ABC to seek further details.

“We obviously expect all passengers to behave in a respectful manner to each other,” a spokesperson said.

“We also expect our drivers to be courteous and respectful to passengers. This is conveyed in bus driver training.”

“If an incident of anti-social behaviour such as this occurs, the bus driver may try to intervene and ask the passenger to leave the bus. If required, the driver can contact a supervisor via radio and organise for police to meet the bus.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph


  1. Here is an account of the incident given by Fernandez to the reporter after the incident.

    Quote. On his way from Marrickville to Ultimo, Fernandez said he sat at the back of the State Transit Authority bus with his two-year-old daughter Emerson, when another little girl started flicking her. ”It was completely harmless, no big deal. I turned to the little girl and I said ‘Darling, that was my arm you just flicked’. I’d put a protective arm around my daughter because she was recoiling a bit.”The girl’s mother started spraying abuse, accusing him of touching her daughter inappropriately, he said.”But it very quickly went to her calling me a black c—, go back to whatever country I came from … she raised a fist to my face a few times and said that I’d better get off the bus or move.”After taking 15 minutes of vitriol from the woman, the driver pulled over and told Fernandez to get off the bus, he said. […]’I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere because she’s just called me a black c— and I have every right to stay in this seat on this bus and I’m not moving’.”Endquote

    So Fernandez stubbornly refused to move seats when asked after he spoke to and touched the woman’s daughter. The incident could have been avoided if Fernandez was sensible and just moved seats, or if the woman wasn’t crazy and just moved herself and her children.

    And he doesn’t have a right to stay on a bus when told by the driver to get off if he is involved in a dispute.

    The SMH later edited the article on their website to spin it and make it all about Rosa Parks and racism. They have removed it from the SMH website but you can still find it here:

  2. Bus drivers are responsible for the safety of the passengers.

    When this bus driver noticed the racial abuse he should have called the depot that he there was trouble on his bus and they would have (hopefully) called police to meet them at the next bus and ask the offending woman to disembark.

    Jeremy was doing nothing wrong and the bus driver demanding he move or get off should be reprimanded or even sacked for adding to a very ugly incident.

    I’ve been on buses where passengers were drinking, swearing and even inhaling aerosol cans. Why should other passengers tolerate this sort of behaviour?

    Jeremy – at the very least lodge a formal complaint with the bus company to take some action against the bus driver who had failed to keep you and your daughter safe.

  3. Like most people commenting I have witnessed this many times on buses in Sydney over the years. Once or twice on trains too although in that instance it’s a lot easier to move away from trouble. Sometimes people speak up and sometimes they don’t (including me) depending on how threatening the person seems, the number of people involved, the time of day etc. The driver never, ever does anything either way. I suspect drivers are told not to do anything but I don’t really think that’s good enough.

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