Daryl Somers issues apology to Kamahl
Former Hey Hey It's Saturday host Daryl Somers has issued an apology to Kamahl after the Malaysian-born singer opened up about the "humiliation" he endured on the once-beloved variety show.
In the statement, Somers says he “deeply regret(s) any hurt felt” by Kamahl and that he “never set out to offend anybody.”
Unearthed skits from the show - including one in which Kamahl was hit in the face with white powder and told "you're a real white man" afterwards - have been making the rounds on the internet recently, with Kamahl commenting on the racial abuse he was subjected to on the show.
“They wouldn’t hit John Farnham or Jimmy Barnes in the face with a powder puff,” he told Studio 10 on Tuesday, adding it “hurt” to be humiliated on live national television.
Responding to the uproar in a statement to 3AW, Somers - who is gearing up to host Channel 7's Dancing with the Stars: All Stars - apologised to Kamahl and others who found the show's content "offensive".
“I want to make it very clear that I and all members of the Hey Hey team do not condone racism in any form,” Somers said.
“I have always considered Kamahl a friend and supporter of the show, so I deeply regret any hurt felt by him as a result of anything that took place on the programme in the past.”
He went on to say he supports diversity in the entertainment industry, claiming the show “never set out to offend anybody but always strived to provide family entertainment”.
He added that he is “proud” of the long-running show’s contribution to Australian television, but added that “in the context of modern society” the material was “plainly inappropriate” and “would not go to air today”.
The “long overdue” apology — which begins with Somers asserting that he is “currently in the middle of recording Dancing With The Stars: All Stars” — has been slammed by some social media users.
“Just say sorry. No need to contextualise. It was vile then and remains so now,” one said.
“The Daryl Somers “apology” to Kamahl … the good old “these things were ‘appropriate’ in the past & we are so much more evolved now” defence. Yeah nup; it was racist back then & it’s still racist now,” another wrote.
“At no point in Daryl Somers’ ‘apology’ did he apologise. He does fit in a hell of a lot of flexing though,” one more quipped.
Another chimed in: “I see this more as a PR-written “apology” than a Daryl Somers’ apology but anyway, let’s move on.”
Kamahl, however, has accepted the apology, writing: “To whom it may concern, “This is to say that I, Kandiah Kamalesvaran, AKA Kamahl, accept and acknowledge the apology from friend Daryl Somers, unreservedly”.
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