Indigenous sports presenter Tony Armstrong has called out racist abuse sent to his ABC email, vowing never to stop advocating for his people.
“This shit has gotta stop,” he said on Twitter. “One thing is for certain though, this isn’t guna stop us speaking up or stepping up. Sent to my work email, no less.”
The email, which uses racial slurs and refers to the former AFL player as “filthy scum” and an “uneducated dog”, appears to be a response to Armstrong’s criticism of Gina Rinehart for not disavowing her father’s racism towards Indigenous people.
His tweet received a flood of support from colleagues and fans including ABC presenters Michael Rowland, Zan Rowe and Nate Byrne.
The ABC News Breakfast presenter appeared on Ten’s The Project last week and criticised media which sprung to the billionaire’s defence after Hancock Prospecting withdrew a lucrative funding deal from Netball Australia after a players’ revolt against the company.
“The pro-Gina PR push has gone into overdrive with article after article about Gina’s philanthropic niceness,” he said.
“The fact remains that what her dad said while at the helm of Hancock Prospecting is hands down the worst thing anything could say about another race.
“Let’s be clear, he was not a senile blow-in who got drunk and shot his mouth off. He was the mining pioneer who started the company. He was the one who handed the reins to Gina. He believed every one of those words.”
Armstrong also spoke about the initial lacklustre response to the death of 15-year-old Indigenous boy Cassius Turvey, who was killed in an alleged violent attack in Perth.
A proud Barranbinya man, Armstrong has opened up about the racism he has faced throughout his life and says he tries to dispel perceptions that Australia does not have racism issues like the US.
“I went for a coffee with a couple of teammates,” he said on Fox Sports after the death of George Floyd. “Two policemen followed me into the cafe.
“They went on to ask for my ID. They wanted to know where I’d been and what I was doing.
“Why? There’d been a robbery nearby. When I proved who I was, they just scoffed and walked away.”
His role as a high-profile Indigenous man has led to frequent requests to speak on behalf of his community.
“When the Do Better report came out every man and his dog wanted to talk to me, because I was an Aboriginal man who played for Collingwood,” he told Guardian Australia last year.
“And I can imagine what that cultural load would have felt like for Goodesey [Adam Goodes]. It’s so important that we do have representation so there’s a fair and balanced discourse, and also whoever is in the media isn’t getting culturally burnt out and it becomes an unsafe space. I think that’s very important too.”