Ms Lattouf is an award-winning journalist, and diversity advocate who has a long and varied media career and has worked on and off for the ABC since 2009. Between December 18 and 22, Ms Lattouf was engaged by the ABC as a fill-in host for Sydney’s Mornings radio slot. Lattouf is a regular fill-in presenter on ABC Sydney.
Ms Lattouf was told by Acting Station Manager Mark Spurway on December 20 that she was “sounding great” and that the audience was “responding very well”.
Within an hour, Ms Lattouf was summoned to a meeting with senior management and told she was terminated immediately, because she had reposted a Human Rights Watch (HRW) social media post alleging the Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. ABC news also reported these same claims by the reputable human rights organisation.
Before leaving the building, Ms Lattouf was told by a manager that David Anderson had made the call to sack her, despite pushback from radio staff, many who were visibly emotional as she departed.
Her dismissal was leaked to rival media outlets with an article published within an hour of her sacking and before she had even arrived home.
Ms Lattouf, a well-known advocate of anti-racism as well as diversity in the media, said the ABC had taken swift action against her because of her Lebanese background.
“I’m a big supporter of public broadcasting. I will always advocate for a well-funded, fair, independent and representative ABC. Our democracy is more enriched for it. This is why it is disheartening to not only witness the horrendous treatment of people of colour by the ABC over the years, but now to personally - and so publicly - feel its wrath.
“Despite the ABC’s rhetoric about diversity and inclusion, it is currently an unsafe workplace for journalists who are people of colour. I’m aware of several diverse journalists who have either resigned or are on the brink of resigning because they are unfairly scrutinised and don’t believe their employer will back them and fear they will be next to be thrown under the bus.”
“Even for non-diverse journalists, my sacking and the sacking of others has a chilling effect on journalism. People are now too scared to report without fear or favour,” Ms Lattouf said.
Mr Bornstein, who has acted successfully in other high-profile unlawful dismissal cases involving workers sacked for making political statements including former SBS journalist Scott McIntyre and academic and co-founder of the Safe Schools Coalition, Roz Ward, said Ms Lattouf’s treatment was a clear breach of the Fair Work Act
“The claim has now been amended to reflect that Antoinette Lattouf alleges that she was sacked by the ABC because she expressed a political opinion and also because of her race. Since October 7 and the ensuing conflict in the Middle East, it has become notorious in the media industry that Arab and Muslim journalists are being intimidated, censored and sacked,” Mr Bornstein said.
“In this case we will show that the ABC has not sacked white journalists for expressing political opinion, even where those journalists worked in news and current affairs. Antoinette’s role at the ABC was not a news or current affairs role. She shared four posts during her employment and was told that sharing the Human Rights Watch post was somehow a breach of the ABC’s social media policy. Then she was suddenly and humiliatingly sacked.
“We are seeking a detailed, public apology and compensation for harm to reputation and for distress and humiliation. In addition, Antoinette will seek an order that the ABC offer her a commensurate role back on air, as she is passionate about the importance of a representative public broadcaster. Finally, we are also seeking the imposition of penalties on the ABC to deter it from repeating this conduct.”
Media enquiries: Paddy Murphy, 0490 297 391
Our media team advises and supports Maurice Blackburn lawyers and clients during all forms of media engagement, including video and television appearances, radio, online and print media.
Please direct media inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact team members directly via the phone numbers below.
National Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications
General Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.