Sacked ABC journo spills to Abbie

Antoinette Lattouf speaks with Abbie. Picture Instagram.JPG
Antoinette Lattouf opens up to Abbie Chatfield about her dismissal from the ABC. Picture: Instagram

Sacked ABC journalist and radio presenter Antoinette Lattouf has opened up about her abrupt dismissal to podcast host Abbie Chatfield.

Ms Lattouf, a fill-in breakfast presenter at the national broadcaster, lodged an unfair dismissal claim against her former employer alleging she was dropped over her political views and race.

She claims she was dismissed on December 20, three days into a new role, after sharing a post from Human Rights Watch on her Instagram page that alleged the Israeli government was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

The same claim was also reported by the ABC that day.

The ABC has insisted she was not dismissed, rather the decision was made to “not require” her for the final two days of her five-day contract.

In a deep-dive interview with Chatfield on her It’s A Lot podcast published on Tuesday morning, the radio presenter explained how her life has become consumed by the matter.

Antoinette Lattouf speaks with Abbie. Picture Instagram.JPG
Former ABC presenter Antoinette Lattouf speaks with It’s A Lot podcast host Abbie Chatfield. Picture: Instagram
Antoinette Lattouf speaks with Abbie. Picture Instagram.JPG
The pair shared their experiences of backlash after sharing pro-Palestine content. Picture: Instagram

“I’m going to stick it through, as long as it’s going to take because I think it’s so much bigger than me, and so much more important than me,” she told the podcast.

Her departure from the ABC program stirred up a heated debate over whether a person's political views relating to the conflict would alter their ability to complete their job.

It followed a number of doxxing incidents - not by the ABC - in which the private identifying information, including the workplaces, of both Jewish-Australians and those linked to Pro-Palestine supporters were released.

Leaked messages from a WhatsApp group called Lawyers for Israel show how members campaigned for ABC Lattouf to be sacked.

When podcast producer Lem Zhakaria asked Ms Lattouf if she was “hesitant” to lodge her case with Fair Work, Ms Lattouf answered with a resounding: “No”.

Palestine supporters gathered at Sydney’s State Library to protest the sacking of Antoinette Lattouf by the ABC. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

“There was already a front page news story about me by the time I got home, so I thought well everyone’s watching, and it’s going to set a precedent.”

Chatfield also asked if she thought the reaction to her views would have been different if she was a “white man”.

“I absolutely think things would be different,” she said.
Chatfield also opened up about the backlash she received after speaking to Egyptian-American comedian Bassem Youssef about the Gaza conflict on her podcast.

She said a “progressive” brand emailed her managers suggesting she invite some “pro-Zionists” onto the podcast, and consider “rethinking her stance” on the topic.

The radio presenter has lodged an unfair dismissal case with Fair Work. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

At one stage Chatfield joked Ms Lattouf may have lost the ABC “as a friend”, before the production team erupted into laughter.

Ms Lattouf quickly clarified she “still loves the ABC” and said she “plans to get back on-air”.

“An organisation is only as good as the people who lead it, and if they are fearless, and I would argue at the moment they are not,” she said.

“But as an institution I will always advocate for the ABC, our democracy is better for it.”

Hours after the podcast was published on Tuesday, Ms Lattouf’s legal representatives met for the first case management hearing.

The ABC claimed in court Ms Lattouf had “failed or refused to comply” with directions to not post on social media about controversial matters for the time she was presenting, resulting in her termination.

The Federal Court was told both parties were interested in heading to mediation as soon as possible.

The court matter has followed a tough few months for the national broadcaster after staff voiced their outrage over perceived bias in the coverage of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.