SBS sacks reporter for “disrespectful” ANZAC Day tweets

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Updated: SBS has sacked sports reporter Scott McIntyre following controversial tweets yesterday, accusing “brave ANZACs” of “execution, widespread rape and theft” in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.

The World Game reporter was dismissed on Sunday after being slammed on social media by users calling for his tweets:

This morning managing director Michael Ebeid released a statement saying respect for Australian audiences was paramount at SBS.

“Late on Anzac Day, sports presenter Scott McIntyre made highly inappropriate and disrespectful comments via his twitter account which have caused his on-air position at SBS to become untenable,” he said.

“Mr McIntyre’s actions have breached the SBS Code of Conduct and social media policy and as a result, SBS has taken decisive action to terminate Mr McIntyre’s position at SBS, with immediate effect.

“At SBS, employees on and off air are encouraged to participate in social media, however maintaining the integrity of the network and audience trust is vital. It is unfortunate that on this very important occasion, Mr McIntyre’s comments have compromised both.

“SBS apologises for any offence or harm caused by Mr McIntyre’s comments which in no way reflect the views of the network. SBS supports our Anzacs and has devoted unprecedented resources to coverage of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.”

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted, “Difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments.

“Despicable remarks which deserve to be condemned.”

Via: News Corp

61 Comments:

  1. I’ve expressed my opinion but in fairness to the facts, his posts were actually done on the 24th April and not Anzac Day. Not unless he has somehow managed to alter the date of his posts. They do stand out oddly on his feed because it’s essentially sport, sport, sport, and then this run of posts. I do credit him for not trying to pull the “someone must have hacked my account” excuse. But I am wondering David where you got the copy of his posts. Straight from his own feed or RTs? If you look at his account now the posts were published on 24th.

    • Did media outlets use a social media data monitoring program and grabbed from that? Tweets don’t usually have a timestamp unless it’s a response/reply or an RT. If they were taken from a data monitoring program then you need to give whoever deals with the accuracy of that data a headsup. I regret not having double-checked earlier. Ebeid’s published formal decision wasn’t based on this however I have to wonder if it influenced.

      • Umm..but they are behind us. Now I am lost in a time warp. 🙂 As I said, I felt it worth raising out of fairness. On his feed it says the 24th which is the 23rd for some U.S. zones.

      • Further to that, McIntyre posted about the Kashima Antlers game on the 21st. I double checked and that was the correct date of the game with the Wanderers. So, the game is on the 21st and he posted on the 21st. So, he then posts on the 24th and depending on the time, in the U.S. that’s either the 23rd or the 24th. I only see 25th on media reports and RT’s etc which is why I raised it.

        • Secret Squïrrel

          Go to his Twitter and hover your mouse over the date of the tweet. The server time and date will pop up. That is USPDT which is -7:00 UTC and 17 hours behind AEST.

          Alternatively, just look at the time and date in the tweets posted above – they will display the time according to the timezone of your operating system.

          The tweet re the Kashima match was sent at 4:22am 21/4 = 9:22pm 21/4 AEST

          The first contentious ANZAC tweet was sent at 12:39am 25/4 = 5:39pm 25/4

          • I had hovered the mouse over but I was still seeing the 24th. Ok, I just posted a Tweet on my own timeline and it is saying the 27th. Thanks for being so patient with me SS. I was not deliberately trying to be difficult but I was certainly prepared to be wrong. 🙂 I was! I always think of this as a “shut up and go clean the loo” moment.

          • Secret Squïrrel

            Never thought you were being difficult. Assumed that you just wanted to ensure that you properly understood the correct timing of events, particularly as him sending the same tweets a day before (or after) ANZAC day would somewhat mitigate their effect and, perhaps, should also therefore modify people’s response.

            Anyway, glad it’s clear now.

  2. What he said was offensive to all those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for country. Im all for freedom of speech but he needs show some respect on a memorial day this country lost a lot of good men 100 years ago.

  3. Thank you SBS. We do not need people such as this in public media. Younger generation especially need to know Australuans still have a home thanks to the men and women who gave their lives for us. Anzac Day is a day to pay our respects to those who died as well as those who came home. We can use the other 364 days to discuss ways to stop wars happening and changing the thinking of arrogant people who think they have the right to control others.

  4. This is no “freedom of speech” issue. It simply boils down to the fact that someone cannot make public comments that reflect poorly on that person’s employer. His Twitter profile shows quite clearly he is an SBS employee. And it’s unlikely he would have 30,000 followers if he wasn’t known from his work. The comments were public. The comments were offensive to many people. The comments reflected poorly on SBS. Sacking was inevitable.

    And, frankly, if it causes more people to think before they tweet, all the better.

    • Which means you can’t say anything your employer later decides they don’t like, to defend their corporate interests. SBS themselves ran an old documentary questioning ANZAC day.

      It is a freedom speech issue because people must have the right to hold and voice political views for democracy to function. You should have to be in fear of your job every time you open your mouth. The glorification of war is also offensive to many people including Pacifists. And if you can only speak about things that don’t offend many people, then you can’t even talk about the weather anymore.

      We shall see what the unfair dismissal case finds. He has been sacked without proper warning for expressing a view points that can is supported by fact. He hasn’t used offensive language, threatened or intimated anyone (despite probably being baited in the rest of the conversation which couldn’t printed)…

      • ABC ran a very good doco by Sam Neill in which he did not advocate war but supported our soldiers. Many years ago Alan Seymour’s play The One Day of the Year saw a younger generation telling an older generation that ANZAC Day was meaningless and glorified war. But these things are about context -in which a fuller argument can be sensibly couched- and timing. 140 angry characters on our 100th commemoration did neither of these things. Together with breaching employer guidelines these were his biggest mistakes.

      • I agree with you, Pertinax.
        People are entitled to express their own opinions, and unless they are representing their employers at the time, it is nothing to do with them.
        Sadly SBS and “politically correct” go hand in hand.

        • That’s the point. He was representing SBS. A known network face tweeting on an account showing him to be an SBS reporter makes it SBS’s problem.

    • Hallelujah! Someone who finally gets it! Well summed up @tvnewsviewer. The ‘free speech’ argument being touted, especially by journalists, misses the essential point – McIntyre made the comments under the SBS banner. His profile clearly identifies him as an SBS employee. His account is even verified due to his employment at SBS. SBS powers that be had no choice but to sack McIntyre.

  5. Charlie Hebdo can say what they like about Muslims and we celebrate them, however we can’t hold a personal opinion which differs from the ‘pack’ at home? I smell a double-standard here.

    • jezza the first original one

      I don’t think Charlie Hebdo were celebrated as such, sure many of their staff were murdered for expressing a satirical viewpoint. Scott McIntyre has been widely criticised and (imo) deservedly sacked from his media role. I have not read anywhere of any threats to him or actual physical assault upon him. He is now free to express his opinion as much as he wants, whenever and wherever he wants. I just think he will no longer have much of an audience. Hardly double standards.

    • Bazza…perhaps read about Charlie Hebdo’s ‘first life’ as L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri. The French government was so furious with L’Hebdo over one of their covers following mass French deaths at a nightclub fire that they banned it. The magazine simply worked a loophole in the law, changed it’s name and came back. I personally don’t agree with what they did re the Muslim prophet but they haven’t just attacked the Muslim faith. They have produced anti-semitic copy, anti-Catholic and anti gay. In some senses I can understand why it may seem like a double-standard but this debate is one reason many love Australia. That we have the freedom to debate. But that also holds responsibilities.

  6. He used the wrong medium and chose the wrong (or arguably, best) time to express his opinions. Always uncomfortable with people being dismissed due to their views – if anything isn’t SBS the place on television where non-mainstream views can be expressed?

  7. harrypotter1994

    I can understand his point of view but hello we remember the ANZACs on the Turkish soil every year and many other places around the world, so obviously we know there are other sides to the story.

  8. Utterly ridiculous. So now we have the equivalent of a blasphemy law to go with the secular worship of ANZAC. He expressed a defensible opinion. Those who disagree can engage with him on Twitter, a public forum. For him to lose his job just shows how pathetically precious we are about ANZAC Day.

    • Well, he is lucky to be in a country where we have Fair Work Australia. I have found this non-partisan organisation absolutely fabulous and if he believes his rights have been unfairly dealt with, he should seek a remedy. This said, if people choose to put their employer – and their position with said employer – on their Twitter account and do not go to any trouble to couch comments as their own and not representing their employer, this is what they can expect. And that isn’t new information. SBS suggest his comments were against their social media policy. I have to presume all their employees have signed off on said policy so, on a “be mature and self responsible” basis, he might have to cop it. Once again, if he feels he has been mistreated, he has avenues. Nothing to do with any alleged worship of ANZAC day [in pragmatic terms].

      • A good point – Clearly MacIntyre has never learned to use the famous disclaimer: “The views I express are my own and not necessarily the same as the organisation(insert corporation name here)” This disclaimer(or similar words) should be spoken ahead of, or immediately after the comment, verbally or in print. For this reason alone, MacIntyre clearly deserves to be sacked. The disclaimer is an important part of any presenter’s “toolkit” whether he/she is on commercial or community radio or TV.

  9. McIntyre claims “The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society”. Wrong again. The Ottoman Turkish Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria on 31 October 1914. The stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front convinced the British Imperial War Cabinet that an attack on the Central Powers elsewhere, particularly Turkey, could be the best way of winning the war. The photo on the twit’s Twit account is wrong. The explanation by ‘mistaken’ below is correct. ANZACs were very prominent in Europe, but no mention of their liberation of the extermination camps, responsible for the murder of 6million Jews. This “poorly-read, white, nationalist drinker” is indeed “poorly-read”.

    • Except that like most of their decisions, The War Cabinets backing of Churchill’s plan was a dreadful mistake. It simply wasted resources better used elsewhere. Most Historians believe that even if they took Constantinople fighting across Turkey, The Austro-Hungarian Empire to get at Germany on the Western Front was crazy and would have stretched Allied forces more than Germany’s

      They were after a quick victory at any cost to distract people from the stalemate and the long battle ahead to keep British morale up. If the German push after Russian’s withdrew succeeded such stupidity could have cost the entire war.

      Getting fired for attacking the British War Cabinet’s actions in WWI on ANZAC days seems a bit harsh.

  10. jezza the first original one

    His comments and timing were the worst possible type of attention seeking. lf he did not have the guts to go into an RSL club and make those remarks to a full audience, why should he cower behind the comfort of Twitter. Wars have happened throughout human history, there is nothing great about them, just a stark choice of the lesser evil. Having, myself visited the A-Dome and museum in Hiroshima, his ignorance of what occurred and why is immense and so typical of left leaning, condescending, prescriptive and oppressive imperialism

    • Btw, I guess I may be called “left leaning” but then so would my mother (who served during the Korean war). Not sure left leaning and imperialist go together. I know our family has never supported missionaries taking their messages to 3rd world countries and similar which is something many imperialists would support. When I was small Japan was considered an imperialist nation but then again, so was Britain. I was certainly taught to be wary of believing any one account of history.

    • The “truth” according to McIntyre. A good example of his leanings are his pages on how Palestine is suffering, but not one mention of Palestine’s bombardment of Israel, which keeps that “war” going.

      • The Israeli refusal to stop building new settlements, let alone withdrawing those that shouldn’t be there, controlling precious aquifers and restricting Palestines’ movements, also have something to do with it. Both sides are at fault.

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki wiping two cities off the map and killing 80-160k civilians to pressure a favourable political outcome (Japanese surrender) were the greatest acts of terrorism ever conducted. And 20,000k troops camped in Egypt did cause trouble, as any such troops did.

        We got rid of blasphemy laws, there aren’t suppose to be any unquestionable sacred cows, so arguing that politics of war are off limits on ANZAC day is silly. It’s the one day we do think about such things.

  11. MisterJimboJones

    Don’t feel sorry for Comrade McIntyre, he’ll pop up as a taxpayer funded press secretary for a Greens MP soon enough before his pre-selection as a candidate from the federal election next year

  12. I think Pertinax has a point however, the Tweets were such sweeping generalisations and delivered on a day when a lot of people are feeling more emotional. I think it right to debate war and certainly rape and genocide are not confined to any one ‘side’ however choosing this particular day to comment and in the way he did, yes, as DrRudi suggests “career suicide”. He could have posed the thrust of his sentiments in a fairer and more reasonable manner. He basically suggests that anyone supporting Anzac day is a bogan loser. Not so sir. And, as Gaz suggests, many of us think of all those who have lost lives and not just our own.

  13. SBS has sacked Scott McIntyre due to breaching SBS’s Code of Conduct. Rightly so.

    There is no denying that Australian soldiers committed atrocities – many detailed in documents in the National Archives. His comments were ill timed and several totally incorrect ie the photo he used and stated ‘innocent children…murdered. Their shadows seared in the concrete Hiroshima’. The image is in the Hiroshima museum. It is the blood of a man waiting in line at the bank.

  14. Its no secret SBS has at least good amount of people working there with very left wing views on this country. Just look at their show the Feed and it will explain everything.

  15. MisterJimboJones

    If he had posted an offensive tweet about gays, lesbians, aboriginals or refugees he would’ve been sacked in 10 seconds however he is just being “disrespectful and not at all the views of @SBS” according to the SBS bossman

  16. ANZAC Day has always been controversial and there have always been anti-war protests associated with it. That too is a tradition.
    If you can’t debate war, with the ugly bits included, then we are in a pretty sad state.

    • As someone (70+) who lost two great uncles (brothers), a grandfather, father and friends in wars I attend ANZAC Day services to pay respect to them. I also joined in the UNSW Vietnam war protests in 1970. There’s a huge difference between a “debate (on) war, with the ugly bits included” and claiming ANZACs were involved in “summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan”. Australian troops did not enter Japan until 1946, after the surrender in 1945.
      Yes, all war is wrong, but when an aggressor threatens your homeland it’s necessary to do whatever is required to defend one’s liberty.

      • However Australia did participate in the fleet during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 and we were preparing – along with allies – to invade. Okinawa was the planned base of that operation. Australian destroyers Quilliam, Queenborough, Quickmatch, Napier, Nepal and Norman served with the British Fleet Task force and we had other vessels such as minesweepers providing support. Certainly we did not land until ’46 but I think it important – for various reasons – to recognise that we were part of that Fleet.

  17. He should be dismissed immediately !! I for one do reflect on the loss of other nations soldiers and civilians, as well as our own, not only on Anzac Day, but every time I see a movie, or read a book about war.

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