Sky News faced a week of major outrage, after The Adam Giles Show featured an interview with far-right extremist Blaire Cottrell, who shared his opinions on immigration. The former leader of United Patriots Front, a far-right nationalist group, has a criminal history which includes being found guilty last year of inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims. In the interview, he expressed racist views and advocated taking all the white farmers from South Africa and stopping immigration from the rest of the world.
Sky News head Angelo Frangopoulos later admitted that it was a mistake to feature the United Patriots Front leader on the show. “We deeply regret featuring the interview on our channel,” the channel’s chief executive Angelo Frangopoulos said. “It was an error of judgment and we have taken action to ensure our standards, which we are proud of, are maintained.” Frangopoulos, who has been at Sky News since its inception in 1996 , pledged to “ensure the production of weekend programs and guest appearances meet editorial, journalistic and community expectations”.
Apart from canceling the Adam Giles Show, Sky News stated that Cottrell, who has stated in the past to be an “avid admirer of Adolf Hitler”, would not be appearing on the channel in the future.
Frangopoulos, who is moving on to lead Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi, has also announced the replacement of the channel’s news director, Greg Byrnes, by Kaycie Bradford, as he will be moved into the acting program director position. Political editor of Sky News, David Speers, mentioned that this was something that had to be addressed, going as far as to describe Cottrell as a “Neo-Nazi”: “We’re not the first channel to put Cottrell on the air … but that’s no excuse. He should never have been invited on the Adam Giles program last night and someone should have stopped that from happening.”
The interview was met with such disapproval that it even forced Victoria’s Minister of Public Transport, Jacinta Allan to immediately order the removal of Sky News from all Metro Train stations around town. “Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community”, she said through her Twitter account to later add that “I’ve got a responsibility as the public transport minister to ensure that passengers aren’t bombarded with what’s really shocking content and messages.”