TV

Kerri-Anne Kennerley's smackdown to Yumi Stynes: "Seriously unprofessional"

The Studio 10 host and veteran TV presenter has slammed the woman who called her "racist" yesterday, and then cancelled her scheduled appearance on the show this morning.

By Rebecca Sullivan
Studio 10 host Kerri-Anne Kennerley has launched an extraordinary attack on radio host and cookbook author Yumi Stynes, after Stynes described the veteran media personality as "racist" in a heated debate on the breakfast television show on Monday morning.
The panel, alongside regular hosts Sarah Harris and Joe Hildebrand, were discussing the "Invasion Day" protests held on the weekend.
Thousands of Australians took to the streets to campaign for Australia Day to be moved from January 26, which marks the anniversary of the day Britain officially colonised Australia in 1788.
Advocates of the "Change The Date" movement argue celebrating this day is offensive to Indigenous Australians, the original inhabitants of our continent, who had previously lived in Australia for more than 60,000 years without intervention.
During the Studio 10 panel discussion, Kennerley turned to the camera and directly addressed the protesters.
"OK, the 5000 people who went through the streets making their points known, saying how inappropriate the day is. Has any single one of those people been out to the Outback, where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped? Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education. What have you done?" she asked.
In response, Yumi Stynes said: "That is not even faintly true, Kerri-Anne. You're sounding quite racist right now."
After Kennerley said she was offended by the accusation, Stynes said: "Well keep going then, because every time you open your mouth you're sounding racist," said Stynes.
Kennerley replied: "I am seriously offended by that, Yumi. SERIOUSLY offended."
"These people are desperate for help. Aboriginal elder women are desperate for help, and they're not getting it. Where are these people (other than) one day of the year? You'd be better off doing something positive," she continued.
(Image: Getty)
Yumi Stynes was scheduled to appear on Studio 10 again on Tuesday morning, but she cancelled her appearance last night.
"I was booked come in to showcase a recipe from one of my cookbooks … INSTEAD, I decided to give myself the day off," Yumi wrote on the Instagram account of her new cookbook Zero F---s Cooking.
"This is not because of what happened today between Kerri-Anne and I. I am feeling stable and calm and like I'm on the right side of history. Everything is OK. I'm not coming in because I really urgently want to lie around and do nothing. It's very important," she wrote.
"I told the new producer Tamara that I won't be coming in tomorrow. I also gave her the number of my good friend James Mathison who kindly offered to fill in for me as he is available and has done the show a bunch of times and therefore I would not be leaving the hardworking team in the lurch. I have no idea if she will take me up on the suggestion and it's not my problem."
On Tuesday morning, a small group of protesters had gathered outside the Channel 10 offices in Sydney.
Host Sarah Harris addressed the "heated debate" on the show this morning, inviting two "strong Indigenous women with differing views" to share their opinions.
"Yumi Stynes was scheduled to be on the show today. Of course we wanted her to be here, but last night she posted this on Instagram .... she decided to give herself the day off," Harris said.
WATCH BELOW: Kerri-Anne Kennerley slams Yumi Stynes for cancelling TV appearance
But Kerri-Anne Kennerley jumped in and again launched an attack on Yumi Stynes, criticising her for failing to show up to work.
"Yumi, I respect that you want to lie in bed and do nothing ... but not turning up for work when you've been booked is seriously unprofessional. In my 40-50 years of television, only twice have I not turned up and that's because I was absolutely flat out and so sick. I have a good record of turning up for whatever reason ... I just don't get people who don't turn up."
Host Harris again stressed that the panel "wanted" Stynes to appear on the show today.
Kennerley continued: "This is actually seriously important to me because I value my reputation quite fiercely. I need to address the fact that I was called a racist. If you look up the definition of racist in the dictionary, it means thinking another racial group is superior or that another group is inferior.
"The statement I made was about the tragic abuse of women and children in some Indigenous communities. It is a fact, not a judgement. It is not thinking one group is superior. Throwing words around is dangerous.
"Forget the words. Just help me find a solution to rape, which can lead to suicide in some of the most vulnerable people. I always have been and always will be Australian."
Kerri-Anne Kennerley. (Image: Getty)
Yumi Stynes. (Image: Getty)
On Monday afternoon, Kennerley again hit back at the criticism over her comments, speaking on Ben Fordham's program on 2GB.
"I can only assume that Yumi doesn't know it is a fact of life because I never made a racist comment," she said.
"I don't think I'm superior, I don't think anyone else is inferior, but I just stated a fact."
Kennerley said she was offended by the assertion that she is a racist.
"I'm still offended by it, because that sort of headline you and I both know being in the media we will see that again and again, and as soon as you Google something Kerri-Anne's a racist," she said.
"I do take very big personal exception to being called a racist."
When Fordham asked if Stynes had apologised for her comments, Kennerley dodged the question.
"I'm old enough to know, we're big girls, we can get on with it," she said. "I haven't spoken to her about it because work finishes off you go and you get on with our real lives.
"But I do feel concerned that somebody won't read it, won't hear it, won't understand what the discussion was about."
Osher Gunsberg threw his support behind Yumi, posting this throwback photo on Instagram. (Image: Instagram)
The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg threw his support behind Stynes on Tuesday.
"I've been lucky to call @yumichild my friend for nearly twenty years - and I've lost count of the times she's kindly and calmly called me out on my ingrained, absorbed and unquestioned views on sex and race that I had grown up with and accepted as normal," Osher wrote on Instagram, alongside a throwback photo of the pair during their Channel V days.
"I am a better, stronger, more informed, more curious, more empathetic and more understanding human because of Yumi."