Today show host opens up about "severe" backlash
Today show's entertainment reporter Brooke Boney has opened up and shared what happened after her controversial Australia Day speech on SBS's program Insight on Tuesday night.
She spoke as a part of a panel of prominent Indigenous Australians on a special NAIDOC edition of Insight.
Boney shared her story as to why she got into journalism, which was due to a “really big trauma” in her family.
“It really made me question who I was, and … why so many things kept happening to my family, and why my life seemed so much harder than the people around me,” she said.
The words echoed her speech that she delivered on January 26, which was one of her first episodes onToday after the producers debuted a new line-up of co-hosts.
Boney called for the date of Australia Day to be changed due to respect for the Indigenous community.
“I can’t separate 26 January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than school or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten or raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum. And that started from that day,” Boney expressed.
Boney took the time on Insight to reflect on the impact of her words and the “bloody big” reaction her statement caused.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be as big or as severe as what it was. I knew there’s a big part of our country who haven’t heard different perspectives on big questions of our national identity before … that was a big part of the reason I wanted to go work at Channel 9. But I didn’t understand how new the concept would be to so many people. I’d been working at Triple J, ABC, NITV, SBS — those sorts of views aren’t uncommon,” she explained.
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Here’s a picture of me with tears in my eyes sitting next to @courtneyugle_ on @insightsbs because I was so overcome with emotion. A bit of sadness, a bit of feeling like the world is an unfair place and a lot of pride. This is what bravery is. These young people share the stories of the worst of what has happened in their lives to prove to other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people that they can do anything. That’s my experience with blackfullas tho. It’s so often (nearly always) the case that they’re not seeking fame or fortune for themselves. They want to succeed to prove that they are good enough, that they can do it. They want to keep going so they can make other people’s lives easier. And that’s it. You have a purpose that’s bigger than your next song or getting through medical school or winning a game of footy. Long caption but watch the show tonight. It’s a brilliant reminder of what young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are capable of. (spoiler - it’s anything and everything) ❤️🖤💛
“There were people saying really awful things about me, about my family – it’s really hard when people say threats. I was going to say I don’t care when people say mean things about me, but I do. Please DON’T say mean things about me,” she said with a laugh.
“But it hurts more when people say awful things about your brothers and sisters or your mum. But then you get all this support from people who love and care about you — and also from strangers. It’s the most amazing thing — you realise you’ve said something that’s hit a nerve.”
Boney finished her speech with words that were meant for those in the studio’s audience, which was full with young Indigenous Australians.
“Just because you’re born into a situation, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay there. Just because people don’t think that you’re very smart or that you’re very special or that you have a right to be heard … that does not mean that you have to live in that idea of yourself. The amazing thing about this country is that if you work hard — and it is hard, I’m not going to lie, it’s really tough — you can overcome that,” she said.
“It warms my heart to know that whatever Blackfellas want to be, they can be it, in this day and age.”