Studio 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs has hit back at trolls who called her a hypocrite for accepting the honor of a king’s birthday while fiercely opposing the monarchy.
The Indigenous journalist used the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September to call for the next British head of state to apologize for Australian colonization.
“A big mistake has been made,” Jacobs said at the time. “Australia was settled without the consent of First Nations people who were here.”
On Monday, the Whadjuk woman was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for ‘service to the media, and to the community’ in the King’s Birthday Honor’s List.
Studio 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs has hit back at trolls who called her a hypocrite for accepting the honor of a king’s birthday while fiercely opposing the monarchy. She is pictured on the Logies 2022
Jacobs addressed her decision to accept the award on Tuesday night on an episode of The Point – Referendum Road Trip on NITV.
The 47-year-old said that while most media coverage of her receiving the honor was “nice congratulations”, she was also subject to “vicious” comments on social media.
“The trolls really came out with force today and there was a lot of hate and a lot of people saying I was a hypocrite for taking the award,” she said.
Jacobs then turned to fellow panellist, Teela Reid, an Indigenous lawyer and Wiradjuri and Wailwan wife.
“Teela, why is it triggering like that?” asked the presenter. “Why do people feel the need to spread hate and try to tear you down when something good happens to you?”
Among the posts on Twitter was this comment, “Narelda Jacobs can spin it however she wants. In my opinion she is a hypocrite.”
One Twitter user wrote of the Studio 10 host, “Narelda Jacobs is a hypocrite. Except for the Medal of the Order of Australia, but forever holding the system that will allow her to earn a decent crust’
Another wrote: ‘I just wondered how Narelda Jacobs can accept hers after all her talk of colonization and how we shouldn’t mourn the Queen etc. Amazing hypocrisy after all her vitriol’.
A third said, “Narelda Jacobs is a hypocrite. Except for the Medal of the Order of Australia, but always getting the system that allows her to earn a decent living.’
Jacobs said a radio interviewer talked to her for 13 minutes on Monday about the award without any discussion of her performance.
“I have not once spoken in the media about my career,” she said.
“It was all about how I felt about being accused of being a hypocrite because, like many of us, I had made some comments about the role of the monarchy in this country.”
Jacobs, who has worked in television since 2000 and is a member of Football Australia’s National Indigenous Advisory Group, said accepting the honor was “complicated”.
The 47-year-old said that while most media coverage of receiving the honor was ‘nice congratulations’, she was also subject to ‘mean’ comments on social media
“I had to think for a long time before accepting the award,” she said.
“I wanted to accept it graciously because it was a thank you for the work I’ve done over the past 23 years and I didn’t want to deny that gratitude.
“I thought of all the First Nations people who have come before me who have also accepted these kinds of awards and their belief that they have to be in the room to change it.
“And so that was my motivator because I firmly believe I’m in the space to change it.”
Jacobs’ late father Cedric, a minister of the Uniting Church and Indigenous leader, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1981 for “service to the Aboriginal community”.
Her mother Margaret was also involved in the Church and had emigrated to Australia from Northern Ireland with her family.
Joining Jacobs on The Point panel was another recipient of the award, former Socceroo captain Craig Foster, who is now chairman of the Australian Republican Movement.
Foster was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for “significant services to multiculturalism, human rights and refugee organizations and football”.
When asked by Jacobs if he had been called a hypocrite for accepting the country’s third-highest honor, Foster said, “Probably. I’m not sure, but I was confused for a moment.’
“But my view is that this is part of the contradictions in Australia that we need to transcend,” he told Jacobs.
Foster said contradiction was “at the heart of the country” and left many Australians “very uncomfortable” that the British monarch was linked to the Honors system.
“So we think it’s time to move on and recognize that part of history…but you should have the right to be recognized by your fellow Australians without guilt.”
Narelda Jacobs describes seeing her father bow before the Queen
Cedric, the father of Narelda Jacobs, met Queen Elizabeth II in 1981 when he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for ‘service to the Aboriginal community’.
Narelda Jacobs says she reflected on her father’s experiences with the monarchy before accepting an Order of Australia medal on the King’s Birthday Honors List.
Cedric Jacbos, Uniting Church minister and Indigenous leader, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1981 for ‘service to the Aboriginal community’.
He received the honor personally from Queen Elizabeth II and Jacobs grew up looking at a photo of that meeting.
Jacobs said of the time her father received his award, he had spoken to the United Nations about his people’s struggles.
Cedric Jacbos was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1981 for ‘service to the Aboriginal community’
“That same year, just a few months apart, he was at the UN in Geneva presenting a plan for a Makarrata for this entire country,” she told The Point on NITV.
[Makarrata is defined as ‘a coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs and living again in peace’].
Jacobs senior had toured Australia 36 years later as a member of the National Aboriginal Council to ‘lay the groundwork’ for the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’.
“When I look at this picture — and I grew up looking at this picture — I saw a sovereign head of state, the Queen, and a man who never relinquished his sovereignty,” Jacobs said.
“Whether it was his personal sovereignty or the sovereignty as a man from the Noongar Nation, he never relinquished his sovereignty.
“But that sovereignty was not recognized by the Sovereign Queen and he is the one who bows to her.
“That’s my reflection of that photo. It’s such a powerful picture and it just goes into the layers of complexity around our sovereignty.”
Foster and Reid had taken part in a controversial ABC panel discussion ahead of King Charles III’s coronation in May.
That two-hour chat was criticized by some viewers for focusing on the harm done to indigenous people by British colonialism. The abuse Grant received for his role in that coverage contributed to his retiring from hosting Q+A.
Jacobs explained in an Instagram post Monday how she reconciled receiving the award with her stance on the monarchy.
“My career at Network 10 has opened many doors for sharing opinions and news on Studio 10, 10 News First, NITV and in the community,” she wrote.
“While I would rather receive that honor from another head of state, the Commonwealth is the system in which we operate.”
“In this referendum year, I am grateful to be part of the change,” Jacobs ended her post, referring to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament submitted to the people.
Jacobs sparked a heated debate online when she said Aboriginal Australians should not be criticized for refusing to mourn the death of the Queen.
Her comments on The Project came three days after Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died and included an “acknowledgment or apology” for colonizing Britain.
Jacobs had also reposted an Instagram story from the Mamamia website that read, “I am an Aboriginal woman. Don’t ask me to mourn the Queen’s death.’
After Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Jacobs shared an Instagram story from the women’s website Mamamia, which read, “I am an Aboriginal woman. Don’t ask me to mourn the Queen’s death’