ABC host fired after posting on Gaza, sparking controversy in Australia

Antoinette Lattouf promised to return the following day as she signed off from her radio show in Sydney on December 20. “I’m excited,” she said to the audience. However, the seasoned presenter and journalist stayed off the air. Her employer dismissed her later that day, claiming that the decision had come from “above”. She had only been stepping in as host of the local Mornings show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for three days out of a week. She believes she was informed everything was going fine just hours before.

However, in the background, pro-Israel organizations fiercely lobbied for her appointment to the much sought position, accusing her of antisemitism. Lattouf, a Lebanese national, said she is afraid the ABC gave in to outside pressure and fired her on the basis of her race and political beliefs. She has filed a claim for wrongful termination. The station angrily disputes this, claiming that Lattouf was fired for violating their social media policies by reposting an Israel-Gaza war message from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Her firing has sparked a surge of public indignation and turbulence at the public broadcaster, bringing into doubt its independence and reigniting worries about how it protects employees, especially those from varied cultural backgrounds, from harassment. Lattouf is a frequent on Australian airwaves and in local publications. She is thought to be the first Arab-Australian woman to work as a reporter on commercial television. However, the 40-year-old has also become well-known for her activism on behalf of causes like mental health, racism, and prejudice in the media.

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