Weekend Sunrise and regular commentator Prue MacSween have apologised over comments made two weeks ago during a debate about education for children with special needs.
MacSween’s comment that such children should first be educated separately to “normal” kids triggered a backlash on Facebook. Last week she also debated the issue in a heated exchange on radio.
Sunrise addressed the issue with a segment on the weekend with an informative discussion on Saturday hosted by Larry Emdur, which included the woman who began the Facebook campaign, Livian Jones. MacSween was not present.
On Sunday MacSween made a statement: “From time to time here we do go a little bit too far, and certainly I feel I did last week when I mentioned the word ‘Retard’ which did upset a lot of people, and I understand that. It was done without malice and I do want to sincerely apologise and I certainly have learnt a lot from it this week, and I do hope that I haven’t upset too many people with it. I know I have, but apologise most sincerely.”
But she did not withdraw her stance on the educational approach for children with special needs. Her Twitter feed asks if the “needs of the many outweigh the special demands of the few?”
Co-host Samantha Armytage then read a short statement on behalf of Weekend Sunrise.
“While it’s understood the views of our regulars don’t necessarily reflect those of the show, we do want to say sorry for the use of the word last week. We do believe it belongs to a different era,” she said.
Facebook users were largely satisfied with the outcome, and also noted Seven’s Director of Morning Television Adam Boland had been instrumental in the apology as well as participating in a discussion of the issues on the site.
TV Tonight was the first media to report the campaign by Facebook as well as an apology from Adam Boland here.