If you didn’t flick over to Hack on ABC2 9:30pm Thursday night, you missed the most intense hour of television since the 2003 Australian Idol Grand Final.
Triple J’s Hack program hosted an (almost) live TV special debating the topic of Australian patriotism. The panel of guests consisted of a variety of Australians with some very polarising views on patriotism. So of course the topic of conversation kept returning to Muslim Australians.
The most vocal and divisive person on the panel was bodybuilder and United Patriots Front (UPF) leader, Blair Cottrell. He was joined by:
Lydia Shelly – Muslim lawyer and activist
Andrew Fox-Lane – a former Australian soldier
Nayuka Gorrie – Indigenous writer and activist
Clinton – One Nation Voter
Lara Jeffery – Conservative Libertarian Commentator
Sara – Muslim Australian
Prof. Andrew Markus – Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements
The debate was heated. At times it even felt like a punch was about to be thrown. In case you missed it here, are the five most intense moments of the show.
5. The moment Cottrell asks Gorrie whether she believed there was white privilege in Australia.
Cottrell’s impeccable logic determined that because Gorrie’s skin was not as dark as other Indigenous Australians, she must have some white heritage.
“You suggest there is some sort of white privilege in this country?…If there is some sort of white privilege and you have some white ethnicity, why do you choose to identify as purely Indigenous? Wouldn’t you go with the ethnicity that is privileged?” Cottrell to Gorrie.
Oh yeah, why hadn’t she thought of that before? I’m sure Gorrie really appreciated the lesson on white privilege.
4. When Tom Tilley went full school teacher
The Hack specials can get a little – uh – passionate. Tilley proved he was still in charge of the discussion by going all channeling his inner high school teacher after a screaming match erupted between Cottrell, Gorrie and Shelly.
“Just hold it right there. You are watching Hack Live, just hold on there. Seriously when I need to get control of this you need to listen so we can actually make this conversation palatable to an audience and not a screaming match.” Tom Tilley to panelists.
Don’t mess with Tommy.
3. Cottrell gets snippy the show isn’t ‘live’ enough
Straight after being told off by Tom Tilley, Cottrell got extremely confused (and very angry) about the show not being live.
Cottrell: Are we live right now?
Gorrie: No there’s a half an hour delay.
Cottrell: Wait a second, I was told this was live, there’s a half an hour delay?
Tilley: I just said it at the start of the show that it wasn’t live, I made that really obvious.
Cottrell: I’ve been told for weeks leading up to this that it was live.
Tilley: I just said we had to put the
show on a delay because of divisive topics.
Cottrell: I just heard that right now.
Tilley: Alright, so as you can see, this is probably why.
Obviously, he was too distracted by Tom’s shirt to be listening.
2. Cottrell gets a taste of his own medicine
It wasn’t just Cottrell throwing accusations willy nilly. Early in the show Fox-Lane stated that Cottrell is not a positive role model because of, along with other things, he has a “history of attacking women.”
Cottrell was quick to jump on the defensive, becoming visibly angry. However his ability to control his emotions and articulate himself whilst under fire was somewhat admirable, in a terrifying kind of way.
“I’ve never attacked a woman in my life…I’ve never laid a finger on anybody. So to sit there and assert, sir, that I have attacked a woman without even knowing the first thing about my character, I would question the morality of your own.” Cottrell to Fox-Lane
In Fox-Lane’s defense, Cottrell has previously published comments on social media where he implies violence towards women.
This moment visibly shocked the panel, and probably every viewer at home as well.
Gorrie reasoned that Muslims were not the race she and Indigenous Australians should be scared of, commenting how it was in fact white people who stole Indigenous land and lives. Cottrell was, unsurprisingly, not happy. He ranted about how much better off the Indigenous race are because the British arrived in Australia first, rather than Muslims or the Chinese. Cottrell then responded to the statement that white people massacred Indigenous Australians with the question, “So what, is there any proof of that anyway?”
Special mention goes to the moment, when after watching a clip of a young woman having her southern cross tattoo covered up because she was embarrassed people would think she was racist, Cottrell asked Shelly how she would feel to be made ashamed for having a tattoo that represents her beliefs.
“If you had an Islamic tattoo and you felt so pressured by society that you had to cover it up, because of accusations or prejudice, how would you feel?” Cottrell to Shelly.
I’m guessing it would feel something like being ridiculed for wearing a hijab right?