Erin Molan, an Australian television sports presenter, is under fire after seemingly mocking the names of Pacific Islander National Rugby League players on 2GB, Sydney’s premier news and talk radio station.
During a discussion about pronouncing the names of NRL players, the Channel Nine host allegedly used an Polynesian accent to say “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka,” according to Fox Sports.
Fox Sports reported instead of laughing, fellow hosts of The Continuous Call Team, Darryl Brohman and Mark Levy were perplexed and sat in awkward silence.
Daily Mail Australia announced the 36-year old sports presenter insisted her comments weren’t out of malice. Instead, Molan stressed that she was making an inside joke between the commentary team based on a story co-host Brohman talked about on-air two months ago.
According to News Hub, Brohman shared a conversation between father and son commentators, Ray and Chris Warren, who had contradicting ideas over the pronunciation of Manly forward Haumole Olakau’atu.
Daily Mail said Channel Nine Entertainment, which owns 2GB, backed Molan’s story by claiming, “Erin was jokingly mocking the difficulty Chris and his father had, going back and forth figuring out how to pronounce a complex name.”
As over 45 percent of NRL players have Pacific Island heritage, Molan’s comments resulted in widespread anger.
Augustino Junior Poluleuligaga took on to his own twitter account for players to refuse to work with Molan on broadcasts until she offered an apology.
“I hope the poly boys in the NRL decline her when being asked to do an interview or anything to do with her until she apologizes. I know how it feels. It used to make me feel embarrassed and angry when I should have been feeling proud along with my family. Inside joke my ass,” the Polynesian star wrote.
Sea Eagles prop Martin Taupau, also expressed his rage by sharing how Molan’s racist mocking of Polynesian names would have left his grandfather “tossing in his grave in anger.”
Taupau said on Twitter, “Understandable for our non-Pasifika community attempting to properly announce our names, but to disrespect and make a mockery of former/current Pasifika players in the NRL like how you carried on is DISGRACEFUL.”
Former NRL player, John Hopoate, took an even more aggressive measure on his Instagram by publicly posting a photo of Molan with the following caption: “It was an inside joke between colleagues so it’s ok. Just like when I accidentally trip this RACIST B***H over and she falls and scrapes her RACIST mouth on the ground. But I won’t apologize cause it’s an inside joke between friends.”
This is not the first time Molan was criticized for her questionable dialogue on-air. According to Daily Mail, Molan received tremendous backlash after allegedly ridiculing K-pop sensation BTS on TV show, 20-to-One. Molan dubbed BTS’ success story in America to be “surprising” because “only one band member actually speaks English.”
Already 1,500 people have signed the petition at the time of writing. The petition reads, “Polynesians who represent about 45 per cent of players in the National Rugby League competition deserve basic respect and shouldn’t be subjected to inadvertent racism. Instead being empowered to be proud of their names, ancestors and culture.”
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