A youth worker angered by Sam Newman’s Street Talk in The Footy Show has initiated an online petition asking Nine to axe the segment.
Newman regularly interviews members of the public about AFL football in suburban or regional centres, always with comedic responses. Amongst die-hard fans of the Nine show, the long-running segment is akin to an institution. But his choice of interview subjects has seen it being slammed for ”mocking the mentally ill.”
”Sam Newman’s weekly segment street talk on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show deliberately preys upon on those within our community who suffer from learning difficulties, social integration challenges and mental illnesses, stripping them of their dignity for the purpose of entertainment and it should be removed immediately,” states the petition.
”By you providing such public consent to the de-humanisation of our fellow citizens based on their mental health or social interactive ability, it becomes impossible for us to discourage similar behaviour within our schools, universities or workplaces.
”These individuals deserve their dignity like everyone else. To de-humanise them for a cheap laugh has no place in a progressive society.”
Since last Friday it has attracted more than 700 signatures, including Father Bob McGuire and Tim Costello.
Sam Newman is no stranger to controversy, having been in much hotter water than this, including being under watch by media watchdog, ACMA and directed to undergo training.
Nine declined to comment on the petition.