Peter Hellier "truly sorry" as damning video resurfaces
Comedian and television personality Peter Hellier has issued an apology to former Collingwood Magpies defender Heritier Lumumba after footage resurfaced of his 2017 interview on Channel 10's The Project.
Representing the Magpies for 10 years between 2005-2014, Lumumba claimed he had endured a "culture of racist jokes" at the club.
The player said he was nicknamed "Chimp" by teammates, and claimed he was "ostracised internally" after speaking out against racism.
During an interview with The Project's Waleed Aly in 2017, Lumumba opened up about his experience with racism in the AFL.
Addressing his fellow panelists, Helliar questioned why more teammates had not publicly supported Lumumba's claims.
“Heritier has the opportunity to become a really strong, significant voice in the battle against racism with the AFL and Australian sport,” Helliar said.
“My only thing — it would be really helpful if we heard more detail, specifically with the nickname.
“We can’t find anyone who would speak to us who knew of that nickname over a playing career of 10 years.
“Even if you have to name names, take us into your experience. Paint the picture so we understand it more. Because if you don’t do that, then it just sounds like you’re smearing an entire club.”
— The Project (@theprojecttv) September 12, 2017
After Lumumba's claims, Collingwood conducted an internal club investigation last year, which found Collingwood's responses to alleged racism were "at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents".
The report also said Collingwood prioritised the reputation of the club, rather than addressing the claims of racism directly and instigating change.
In response to the “heartbreaking” report, Helliar posted an apology to Lumumba on social media.
“I urge all fans & members to demand better from @CollingwoodFC,” Helliar tweeted on Tuesday morning.
“This report is heartbreaking. To @iamlumumba I am truly, unequivocally sorry. I should have believed you. I will do better.”
Later that day, Lumumba revealed The Project had once again invited him onto the program, but he turned it down.
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