Channel 10 has removed a video of Waleed Aly’s controversial interview with former Collingwood Magpies defender Heritier Lumumba following heated backlash.
Last week, there were calls for Aly to apologise for the interview with Lumumba in 2017 after a bombshell report found Collingwood guilty of fostering “systemic racism”.
The report was instigated after Lumumba made damning claims about enduring a “culture of racist jokes” and being nicknamed “Chimp” while playing for the Magpies.
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Aly interviewed Lumumba for an episode of the popular Channel 10 show, during which the defender’s alleged nickname was discussed.
The Project panellist Peter Helliar questioned the authenticity of Lumumba’s allegations, saying at the time “it would be really helpful if we heard more detail, especially with the nickname”.
The comedian also claimed Lumumba risked “smearing an entire club” if his story could not be verified.
But instead, the clip has mysteriously been taken off Channel 10’s social media platforms, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Speaking on ABC’s Offsiders, veteran cricket journalist Gideon Haigh led the criticism of journalists who questioned Lumumba’s allegations.
“Was it ever seriously so difficult to believe Lumumba?” Haigh asked on Sunday morning.
“It seems to me the journalists bought readily into the club’s campaign to discredit him because of their need for access, because of their general conformity and frankly their whiteness.”
Former Collingwood players Brent Macaffer, Leon David, Chris Dawes and Andrew Krakouer have all said they heard the nickname “Chimp”.
However, former teammate Simon Buckley, who is Indigenous, responded to the Collingwood report by launching a scathing attack on Lumumba on Facebook.
“He made the nickname up for himself,” Buckley posted in the since-deleted exchange.
“He was all for it when he was winning flags and playing well. He would refer to himself as chimp. He all of a sudden 10 years later wants to be a humanitarian.
“He never complained when he was winning flags and getting a kick himself and calling himself that name. Now all of a sudden he’s out of the media and wants to be back in the limelight and get a few bucks. Weak as p**s.
“If he wanted to preach about racism, he shoulda called it out at the time and not run with it and calling himself that for a laugh.”
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Lumumba later hit back at Buckley’s accusations, claiming the nickname “began in 2005, during the pre-season and, no, I did not make it up myself”.
“Despite the nickname being overtly racist, unfortunately, it was not the worst facet of the interpersonal racism that I encountered during my 10 years at CFC. Within two months of me being at the club, I had already been exposed to a culture where racist ideas, in the form of jokes, stereotypes and direct abuse, was prevalent,” he posted.
Lumumba also reiterated that at the time, he was “a young man of 23-24 years of age, and had yet to understand the dangerous implications of the racism that was allowed to proliferate within the club’s culture”.