News reports slow in acknowledging gay hate crime


Some reports and statements on the mass shooting in Florida have been criticised for being slow to acknowledge that the murder of 50 people took place at a gay venue.

50 people died and 53 were injured after shooter Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

ABC News at Noon  yesterday described “clubbers” and partygoers” in a lengthy opening report, taking a full six minutes before it mentioned the word “homophobia” and referenced Gay Pride month in the US.

Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Greens Leader Richard di Natale were also criticised after they made no mention of the gay community in their initial public statements.

Turnbull later described the tragedy as ” clearly directed by a murderous hatred of gay people” while di Natale later said, “Our hearts are with the people of Florida and (the) LGBTI community.”

Last night on Q&A Opposition Leader addressed the massacre in his first question saying, “What happened in Orlando was an act of terror, an act of fear. But also it particularly targeted a gay nightclub. So I particularly want to say -as I did this morning but again tonight- acknowledge the pain that members of the LGBTI community in Australia. This wasn’t just an attack on humanity, this was an attack on our right to be who we are, our right to choose who we love.”

Such criticisms were not just confined to Australia. In the UK Guardian columnist Owen Jones stormed off the set of Sky News claiming the presenters tried to “deflect” the true nature of the Orlando attacks.

The timing left Tony Awards producers with some important decisions. Yesterday James Corden opened the show by saying “All we can say is you are not on your own right now; your tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved.”

Tony officials also announced that a special ribbon had been commissioned to remember those killed in the attacks, while Barbra Streisand, Jessica Lange and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda acknowledged the tragedy in their speeches. Hamilton cast also performed without muskets.

But the show did not drop its Red Carpet presentation. In 2001 the Emmy Awards were postponed for a month following 9/11. Earlier this year the London premiere of Batman v Superman also cancelled its Red Carpet following Brussels attacks. Some attendees acknowledged the tragedy.

Meanwhile other programmes such as The Project, The Feed, 7:30, The Drum, Lateline all acknowledged the context of the massacre as a gay hate crime. On The Voice singer Adam Ladell dedicated his performance of Imagine to the victims of Orlando, while Ronan Keating also wore a rainbow badge.


  1. [email protected]

    For years Christians have been targeted and killed in the middle east but the media always reports it as ‘an attack on foreigners’ rather than a hate crime or an attack on a particular religion.

    But the bigger issue is that whether you’re gay, straight, Christian, Islamic, Atheist… you’re always going to have people who disagree with you. That’s not a news story. The news story is that someone decided to kill human beings in the name of hate.

  2. yes also agree with your comments, i would think in such a chaotic situation it would not be easy to determine such things, people can get details confused when being confronted with such horrendous violence.. My main concern is why it took so long for police to storm the building, that in itself would also be more complicated than it seems on the surface but questions do need to be asked.

  3. jezza the first original one

    I think with these types of terrible attacks it is important to report what has happened, the outcome, the perpetrators and their motives before tagging it as a certain type of crime. The tag does not bring anyone back or lessen the magnitude of what has occurred. Even at this stage of the aftermath it appears to be a direct attack specifically on gay blokes by someone inspired by the extremist aspects of IS who have a reputation for hunting down gay blokes and throwing them off buildings in Mosul (source BBC news). I prefer it when pollies and media outlets refrain from instant characterisations

    • Agree it is important to report what has happened. Most media outlets were reporting the attack took place at a gay nightclub. A few were oddly late in reporting the basics. It’s about full context.

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