ABC host issues grovelling apology for suggesting racist abuse targeting tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios could be ‘good for him’
- ABC News Breakfast host forced to apologise for comments about Nick Kyrgios
- Lisa Millar suggested racial abuse ‘could be good’ for the Aussie tennis superstar
- Host offered on-air apology on Tuesday and described her comments as ‘clumsy’
- She said no one should have to deal with racist taunts and said she made mistake
- Kyrgios has claimed spectator called him a ‘little black sheep’ during tournament
An ABC News Breakfast host has been forced to apologise for suggesting racial abuse targeting Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios could be ‘good for him’.
Lisa Millar made the ‘clumsy’ comments during a discussion of the player’s claims he had been racially abused by spectators at a recent tournament in Stuttgart.
‘There’s no room for racism but I do wonder whether it’s good for him. There’ll be other people who’ll say you’ve just got to ignore that, you’ve got to block that out if his main aim is to go there and win,’ Millar said of the abuse.
The host offered an on-air apology for her comments on Tuesday morning, saying she regretted them and later insisting she was a ‘big’ Kyrgios fan.
‘Before we go this hour I want to address something I said yesterday that I regret,’ her apology began.
‘We were talking about Nick Kyrgios and the appalling and unacceptable behaviour from the crowd during his match with Andy Murray.
‘I didn’t intend to minimise the abuse that was directed to him. What I said and the clumsy way I said it, was wrong.
‘I’m human, we mess up, I made a mistake yesterday and I am sorry. No one should have to deal with racist taunts.
‘I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt about how strongly I feel about this. I’m a big Kyrgios fan, looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us at Wimbledon.’
Lisa Millar (pictured) made the ‘clumsy’ comments during a discussion of the player’s claims he had been racially abused by spectators at a recent tournament in Stuttgart
It comes after the tennis star claimed he had been called ‘a little black sheep’ and to ‘shut up and play’ in his straight sets defeat to Andy Murray.
Posting on Instagram after the match, Kyrgios said that comments directed at him during the match with Murray were ‘not acceptable’.
He wrote: ‘When is this going to stop? Dealing with racial slurs from the crowd?
‘I understand my behaviour isn’t the best all the time – but “you little black sheep, shut up and play”, little comments like this are not acceptable.’
Kyrgios added: ‘When I retaliate to the crowd I get penalised. This is messed up.’
Nick Kyrgios (pictured in Stuttgart, Germany on Friday) claimed he had been called ‘a little black sheep’ and to ‘shut up and play’ in his straight sets defeat to Andy Murray
Last September, Millar (pictured) was forced to delete her Twitter account after she was targeted by online trolls who claimed she was politically biased
Last September, Millar was forced to delete her Twitter account after she was targeted by online trolls with the decision confirmed by her ABC co-host.
Michael Rowlands confirmed Millar was going underground after users spotted she had deactivated her social media account with almost 55,000 followers.
‘She was on the receiving end of some truly vile and distressing personal attacks,’ Mr Rowlands said.
‘We all cop criticism here. No one is perfect. But the stuff Lisa was subjected to was next level. Those responsible should be ashamed.’
Millar still regularly updates her Instagram account, where she has over 30,000 followers.
The Walkley Award-winning Queenslander is the daughter of former National Party MP Clarrie Millar, sparking accusations of a Coalition-bias by social media critics.
Millar’s co-host Michael Rowlands (left) confirmed Millar was deleting her Twitter account and said she had received some ‘truly vile and distressing personal attacks’
Left-wing trolls have piled on the abuse at every opportunity, claiming Millar gives an easy ride to Liberal premiers and MPs at the expense of Labor politicians while others savagely attacked her personal appearance.
An ABC spokesman confirmed Ms Millar had turned off Twitter and said it was a symptom of unwarranted attacks on women presenters.
‘Lisa has decided to deactivate her Twitter account for the time being after several months of sustained, personal attack,’ a spokesman said.
‘Using social media platforms to abuse and bully people is repugnant and unacceptable.
‘Women often seem to be particularly targeted by this sort of behaviour. It should not be tolerated on any level.’