Peta Credlin apologises for blaming South Sudanese for COVID-19 spike

Sky News and Peta Credlin have issued an apology for comments the political staffer turned TV host made on her program on Friday night.

In an editorial spiel Credlin suggested that “poorly-assimilated migrants” from Melbourne’s South Sudanese community were to blame for the sudden rises of new cases of COVID-19 in Victoria. The political commentator said it was due to celebrations at the end of Ramadan where social distancing was not maintained that the transfer of the virus occurred.

Credlin claimed that many of the people in this community spoke Dinka rather than English, had poor literacy and were unformed about hygienic practices.

The comments outraged local community leaders who highlighted that 90% of the people in their community were Christians, especially those who spoke Dinka. Melbourne’s Society of South Sudanese Professionals (SSSPA) described the broadcasters comments as a targeted attack on their community.

“SSSPA considers this report a serious assault on South Sudanese Victorians. Irresponsible journalism can cause immense damage and further smears against a community already unfairly targetted,” the association said in a statement.

“But most importantly, South Sudanese people are abiding by COVID-19 restrictions, evidenced by extremely low numbers of infection in the South Sudanese community.” the group said.

On Sunday night the broadcaster pulled the material from it’s website and social media channels and issued an apology, saying the statements were incorrect.

“Peta Credlin and Sky News Australia accept these comments were inaccurate and sincerely apologise for any offence caused by the remarks which have been removed from all platforms.” the news broadcaster said, adding the Credlin would personally address the issue on her Monday night program.

Blaming the South Sudanese community for Victoria’s growing number of COVID-19 cases is not the only theory Credlin has espoused in the last week. Earlier she appeared on Ben Fordham’s 2GB breakfast program suggesting that a “lefty enclave” within the Victorian health system was to blame.

It’s not the first time Credlin’s claims have been called in question. Last year she suggested that one in seven prisoners now claim to be transgender. If Credlin’s claims were true that would have meant Victoria would have had average of around 1,200 transgender prisoners, but in reality they actually have an average of around 10.

We’re still waiting on Sky News to get back to us on where Credlin got her numbers on that one.

OIP Staff

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