A relaxed-looking Stan Grant started his break from hosting Q+A on Tuesday with a flight to Sydney from Melbourne and some not-so-light reading.
After presenting the Monday night episode of the ABC panel discussion program, a smiling Grant walked through Sydney Airport holding a copy of The Cross and the Lynching Tree.
James H Core’s book on African American black liberation theology begins with a history of lynching in the United States and draws parallels between those murders and the crucifixion of Jesus.
Grant had told Monday night’s audience, “I’m down now…but I’ll get back up” when describing his decision to take a break from Q+A at least temporarily, citing repeated racial bullying.
A relaxed-looking Stan Grant started his break from hosting Q+A on Tuesday with a flight to Sydney from Melbourne. He held a copy of The Cross and the Lynching Tree, a book about African American black liberation theology.
Leaving the airport, Grant stopped to talk to retired rugby league champion and fellow Indigenous lawyer Greg Inglis, who was subjected to racial slurs from the public throughout his playing career.
Grant was shaking with emotion and teary-eyed Monday when he said his “soul aches” in a powerful farewell speech after hosting his latest episode of Q+A.
The 59-year-old did not address the ABC directly in his closing speech, but rather seemed to aim at the public broadcaster that did not assist him, saying: “I know the media must do better.”
After just 10 months in the position, Grant announced last Friday that he was stepping down after being subjected to “relentless racist filth,” accusing the ABC of “institutional failure” for saying no one offered him support.
Leaving the airport, Grant stopped to talk to retired rugby league champion and fellow Indigenous advocate Greg Inglis, who has faced bigoted comments from the public throughout his playing career.
At the end of Monday night’s program, he said directly to the lens, “I’ve had to learn that endurance isn’t always strength.
“Sometimes the power is knowing when to say stop. And to those who have sent messages of support, thank you very much. But I’ll be fine.’
He said he was stepping down after racial abuse that had mounted since he appeared in coverage of King Charles’s coronation; coverage criticized by some for harping on the negatives of England’s colonial past and questioning the role of the monarchy.
“To those who abused me and my family, I would like to say, if your goal was to hurt me, you succeeded,” he said Monday.
‘And I’m sorry. I’m sorry I must have given you so much reason to hate me so much, attack me and my family, make threats against me.
‘I’m down now. I am. But I will rise again. And you can come to me again, and I will meet you with the love of my people.
“My people can teach the world to love. As Martin Luther King Jr. said of his struggle, “We will exhaust you with our ability to love everyone.”
However, Grant said he walked out not because of racism or hatred on social media, but out of a wider disenchantment with the media.
“I need a break from the media. I feel like I’m part of the problem. And I have to wonder how and if we can do better.’
He ended by thanking his family, spoke a few words in his native Wiradjuri and then simply said ‘good night’.
Grant had told the Q+A audience on Monday night, “I’m down now…but I’ll get back up” when describing his decision to take a break from Q+A at least temporarily after repeated racial harassment. He is pictured talking to NRL great Greg Inglis
Grant was shaking with emotion and teary-eyed Monday when he said his “soul aches” in a powerful farewell speech after hosting his latest episode of Q+A. He is photographed at Sydney airport on Tuesday morning
Earlier Monday, hundreds of ABC employees across the country left in solidarity with Grant, with his broadcaster wife Tracey Holmes, ex-wife and SBS journalist Karla Grant, and his daughter, NITV journalist Lowanna, at the center of the protests.
Dozens gathered outside the national broadcaster’s headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney, as well as Parliament House in Canberra and the broadcaster’s Southbank base in Melbourne.
Lowanna Grant became emotional as she told the crowd in Sydney about the toll the abuse had taken on her family.
“It’s really hard to see him struggle, and that he’s had to deal with the racism and disgusting filth that’s been online,” she said.
“I’m so grateful to everyone here today who supports him, and not just my dad but all the other First Nation journalists.”
Grant’s first wife, Karla Grant, told the crowd in Sydney that racial abuse was an ongoing problem for Indigenous reporters and her family.
“It’s an accumulation of years of racism that our people have faced,” she said.
“Enough is enough and we must take a stand.”
Stan Grant’s broadcaster Tracey Holmes (center) and his daughter with first wife Karla, NITV journalist Lowanna (next to Holmes), joined hundreds of ABC employees in a protest against racism after he announced he would stop hosting Q+ a
The ABC still hopes Grant will return to the show one day.
“Q+A coming up, I think there’s a few more episodes after this week, and then it has a mid-season break, and then it comes back,” ABC News executive Justin Stevens told ABC radio.
“We just want to give him space and time to think about this.
“Hopefully he will return after the winter break, but we don’t want to put any extra pressure on him at the moment.”
Mr Stevens released a statement on Friday calling the abuse Grant suffered “abhorrent and unacceptable”.
“The ABC stands with him and condemns the attacks directed at him. The ABC has and will refer any threat to the police,” he added.
The ABC also plans to review its response to racist trolling.
Read Stan Grant’s emotional message in full
Before I go, I want to say a few words.
Many of you will know by now that I am taking a break.
Sometimes we just need to take a time out. Sometimes our souls hurt, and that includes me.
I’ve had to learn that endurance isn’t always strength. Sometimes strength is knowing when to say stop. And to those who have sent messages of support, thank you very much.
But I’ll be fine. Please send that support and concern to those of my people, and all people who feel abandoned and alone, who wonder if they have a place in this country and who do not have my privileges.
To those who abused me and my family, I would like to say, if your goal was to hurt me, well, you succeeded, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I must have given you so much reason to hate me, attack me and my family, make threats against me. I’m sorry.
And that is what Yindyamarra means. It means that I am not only responsible for what I do, but also for what you do.
It’s not just a word – it’s sacred. It is what it means to be Wiradjuri. It is the core of my being. It’s respect. It is respect that comes from the earth we were born in, from God, Baiame. If I break that, I lose who I am.
I’m down now. I am. But I will rise again. And you can come to me again, and I will meet you with the love of my people.
My people can teach the world to love. As Martin Luther King Jr. said of his struggle, “We will exhaust you with our ability to love everyone.”
Don’t confuse our love with weakness – it is our strength. We have never stopped loving and fighting for justice and truth – the hard truths – to speak in our country.
Yindyamarra Winhanganha means living with respect in a world worth living in. And we in the media need to ask ourselves if we really honor a world worth living in.
Too often we are the poison in our society’s bloodstream. I’m afraid the media doesn’t have the love or the language to speak to the kind spirits of our country.
I’m not running away because of racism – we get that way too often. I’m not running away from hate on social media.
I need a break from the media. I feel like I’m part of the problem. And I have to ask myself how and if we can do better.
To my people – I have always wanted to represent you with pride. I know I can disappoint you sometimes, but in my own little way I just wanted to show us off, and I’m sorry I can’t do that for a while.
To my family – I love you. And to my mom and dad – Balladhu Wiradjuri Gibir. Dyirrimadalinya Badhu Wiradjuri. Mandang guwu…. Good night.