Sydney journalist and news reader Jeremy Fernandez has been suspended from ABC TV duties after the corporation was subjected to a social media storm sparked by the circulation of graphic photos showing him wearing a “brown face”.
Twitter users condemned Fernandez with many saying he was insensitive and out of touch with reality, and should be ashamed of his own ignorance.
Many Twitter followers of the ABC called on the national broadcaster to stand down Fernandez.
Leading legal expert Mr Justice Waleed Aly (pictured) tweeted that while he did not know and had actually never seen Fernandez, it was clear from social media comments that the actions of the ABC personality should be condemned.
“I think the majority of Australians would agree that brownface has no place on our TV screens,” Justice Aly tweeted.
The ABC initially responded by saying it had counselled Fernandez for his actions, but following hundreds of more tweets it announced he had been suspended from on-air duties.
Mr Fernandez has appealed to the ABC to reinstate him, saying wearing a brown face has been something he has enjoyed doing since his childhood in Malaysia.
“I’m ashamed it has come to this,” he told The Bug. “It’s never caused any harm and as far as I know no-one has ever been bothered by it up to now … except maybe one woman on a bus once.”