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Aussie TV host slammed for mocking NZ PM’s accent

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY: A leading Australian media personality faced a stinging backlash Thursday after mocking New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's accent during a moving speech in Parliament about the Christchurch mosque attacks.

She has been praised for her handling of the tragedy that saw 50 lives lost when an Australian white supremacist rampaged through two mosques.

During a speech on Tuesday she vowed never to use the name of the alleged shooter.

"Thank heavens NZ Prime Minister said she will never mention the name of the terrorist," Sam Newman, a former Aussie Rules football player and former co-host of the popular Footy Show on TV, tweeted on Wednesday. "How grating is her accent?"

The comment was condemned for its insensitivity, with more than 1,500 replies, largely negative on Twitter.

"Significantly better than any of the wind that comes out of your regressive racist sexist neck, Sam," said one user.

Another posted: "She's got more class than you could ever try and buy, you pathetic horrible has-been."

Newman hit back, saying: "To be clear, this had nothing to do with her sentiments. It did have to do with the ghastly accent NZ's have cultivated. Now, bang on about that being racist. That should occupy your tiny brains."

Newman had sparked a backlash last year for his comments about Australia's Muslim community. He was reacting after two Muslim Aussie Rules players embraced in a show of solidarity before a game after an Australian politician used a speech in Parliament to urge "a final solution" to immigration.

"There are 600,000 Muslims in Australia, they share no common interest with what we're on about," Newman said at the time. - AFP

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