Sunrise swamped with protesters live on air
SUNRISE has been forced to go into immediate damage control after protesters began holding Aboriginal flags and yelling behind hosts Samantha Armytage and David "Kochie" Koch this morning.
The Channel 7 crew are reporting from the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games - just weeks before Martin Place in Sydney became a rally against the breakfast program following a "hot topic" segment over Aboriginal adoption.
Kochie went to a sudden ad break today after angry people swamped Main Beach, where the studio is set up.
Newsreader Natalie Barr and Kochie were then reporting from various locations on the iconic Queensland beach but Armytage stayed at the pop-up studio.
In March, a crowd of hundreds packed Martin Place, which forms the backdrop of the breakfast TV show, demonstrating the show's decision to discuss Aboriginal adoption which they believe had spiralled into "blatant racism".
But as the crowd - and volume level - grew, producers closed soundproof blinds in the studio, and broadcast old overlay behind the hosts.
Police monitored the crowd of demonstrators who were bearing signs which included "Sunlies".
Protestors bang on the glass windows of Channel 7 headquarters where Sunrise program is taking place. Shortly before, producers closed the black curtains and blocked protestors from being seen on the live program. @sunriseon7 #ourkidsbelongwithfamily pic.twitter.com/mV5ZGi2cdm— Sebastian Reategui (@spebz) March 15, 2018
At the time, Channel Seven issued a statement its decision to block Martin Place from its broadcast and why a "generic" backdrop was used.
"We respect the right to protest as much as we respect the right of free speech," A Channel Seven spokesman said in March.
"Some of the group were holding offensive signage, and some began banging on the window and mouthing obscenities.
"To ensure regulatory compliance, and bearing in mind the potential for young children to be watching, the decision was made to use a generic backdrop."
The Sydney protesters hit back on two levels - firstly that the discussion panel featured not a single Aboriginal voice, and with specific comments from Armytage and panel member Prue MacSween.
Anger boiled over earlier in the wake of the controversial chat about Children and Families Minister David Gillespie's proposal for "open adoption" for indigenous children to save them from rape, assault and neglect.
Currently, they are supposed to be placed with relatives or indigenous families where possible, and with families of other ethnicities if a suitable indigenous family is not found.
Armytage said: "Post-Stolen Generation, there's been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they're being neglected in their own families."
She incorrectly claimed indigenous children could not be fostered by white families.