Kerri-Anne Kennerley defends Erin Molan in Pacific Islander racism row

Kerri-Anne Kennerley defends Erin Molan in Pacific Islander racism row

Kerri-Anne Kennerley has defended Erin Molan following backlash against her “racist” comments on 2GB last week.

Molan has faced widespread backlash after she said “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka” during a discussion about how to pronounce the names of players from Pacific Islander heritage on The Continuous Call Thursday night.

The Channel Nine host said the comment was an in-joke between the commentary team, citing a debate commentators Ray and Chris Warren had over the pronunciation of Manly forward Haumole Olakau’atu.

“Erin was jokingly mocking the difficulty Chris and his father had, going back and forth figuring out how to pronounce a complex name,” the Daily Mail quoted Nine.

Past and current players have slammed the comment and called for Molan to apologise.

“I hope the Poly boys in the NRL decline her when being asked to do an interview or anything to do with her until she apologises,” said New Zealand-born Samoan rugby star Junior Poluleuligaga.

“I know how it feels. It used to make me feel embarrassed and angry when I should have been feeling proud along with my family. Inside joke my ass.”

Sea Eagles footballer Martin Taupau wrote on Twitter: “Understandable for our non-Pasifika community attempting to properly announce our names, but to disrespect and make a mockery of former/current Pasifika players in the NRL like how you carried on is DISGRACEFUL!”

Sharks forward Braden Hamlin-Uele called on Molan to “show some respect”.

He said in an Instagram story: “Disgusting to even think that would be OK, to put on an accent and say that ... Wake up to yourself.”

Former rugby league star John Hopoate published an Instagram post condemning Molan.

“It was an inside joke between colleagues so it’s OK. Just like when I accidentally trip this RACIST B***H over and she falls and scrapes her RACIST mouth on the ground. But I won’t apologise cause it’s an inside joke between friends.”

Hopoate has since made his account private.

Studio 10’s Kennerley described Hopoate’s post as “disgraceful”.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Kennerley said: “For any boofhead to come out and suggest violence against any woman … that behaviour has to be called out.

“It drives me mad in this climate that the people who are so politically correct are the most intolerant people of anyone else. [Molan] is not a malicious person and wouldn’t do anything deliberately hurtful.”

A petition calling for Molan’s sacking from Nine Network has received more than 2,000 signatures.

“Polynesians who represent about 45 per cent of players in the National Rugby League competition deserve basic respect and shouldn’t be subjected to inadvertent racism,” the petition read.