Samantha Armytage trending five years on from ‘racist’ Sunrise segment

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage is trending on social media in the US, five years after comments she made about British mixed-race twins Lucy and Mary Alymer on-air.The segment has been shared thousands of times on Twitter in recent days with users commenting they “can’t believe this was said on Australian national TV” and “Australians are notorious for casual racism”.
The segment, filmed in April 2015, featured comments Armytage later said she was “mortified” by.
“The Alymer twins come from a mixed race family in the UK,” she began.
“Maria has taken after her half-Jamaican mum with dark skin, brown eyes and curly, dark hair but Lucy got her dad’s fair skin … good on her … along with straight red hair and blue eyes.”
Armytage later told News Corp Australia she was “mortified” at being accused of making a racist comment.
“I would be mortified if anyone thought I would say or think anything racist,” Armytage said.
“It’s not in my nature. To anyone who I might have offended, I’m sorry.”
The segment led to a petition that was signed almost 5000 times and forced Channel Seven executives to comment publicly.
Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell said at the time Armytage’s comments during the interview had been taken out of context.
“We are making this statement to avoid further misunderstanding about Sam’s comment on Sunrise,” Pell said in a statement.
“Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment.
“We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.”
Americans were shocked at seeing the clip for the first time in the wake of the death of George Floyd — and the Black Lives Matter protests happening around the world.
It’s not the first time the program was criticised for comments about people of colour.
In a 2018 segment on Indigenous children, Armytage said: “Post-Stolen Generation, there’s been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they’re being neglected in their own families.”
She wrongly claimed indigenous children could not be fostered by white families.
Panellist Prue MacSween said during the segment that removing the kids was a “no-brainer” and that there was a “conspiracy of silence and fabricated PC outlook that it’s better to leave them in this dangerous environment”.
MacSween continued, suggesting there should be another stolen generation.
“Don’t worry about the people who decry and hand-wring and say this will be another Stolen Generation,” she said.
“Just like the first Stolen Generation, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their wellbeing, we need to do it again, perhaps.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority investigated and found the segment breached the TV code of practice because it “provoked serious contempt on the basis of race”.