DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
Game show host Eddie McGuire is in his very own hot seat after being accused of making a ‘racist’ joke on his hit Channel Nine game show.
During Thursday night’s episode of Millionaire Hot Seat on Thursday, the seasoned television host, 53, made a controversial comment about a contestant’s Scottish and Jewish upbringing.
University student Serena Greenberg was playing for the $20,000 prize and told Eddie she was hoping to win the money to finance a trip overseas for her parents.
Eddie quizzed Serena on her heritage and asked: ‘Your father’s not Jewish, is he?’
After confirming that he was, Eddie then replied with: ‘So you have a Jewish father and a Scottish mother… I reckon it would have been hard getting pocket money from them!’
While Serena and her mother – who sat in the audience laughing – appeared unperturbed by Eddie’s misfired joke, the host was slammed by viewers who did not appreciate the gaffe.
Australia’s leading civil rights organisation, The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), received a number of complaints regarding the televised joke.
Chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich told Daily Mail Australia that he does not believe Eddie McGuire is in any way anti-Semitic, but was disappointed by the exchange.
‘While we appreciate the value of humour and give entertainers a lot of leeway, public figures need to show sensitivity and be careful not to traffic in age-old hurtful and demeaning stereotypes, especially those commonly associated with anti-Semitic myths,’ Dr Dvir said in a statement.
‘Denigrating any group by implying that they are stingy and cheap is always inappropriate and never funny. Those in show business need to ensure that their statements, which often push the envelope and boundaries, do not cross the line with tasteless jokes that call up ethnic slurs and which generate laughter at the expense of others.’
He added that he was ‘surprised’ the offensive gaffe was aired at all, as it is not a live-recorded program.
‘Such thoughtless language only reinforces harmful, pre-existing prejudices, and I am surprised that the producer chose to leave that remark in,’ Dr Dvir said.
‘And though he may not be aware of this, I will remind Eddie that it is often young people who the pay the price for such slurs by being taunted at school with crude, damaging smears. The bottom line: such jokes are never acceptable.’
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff also commented: ‘There can’t be many groups left that Mr McGuire has not described in a deeply offensive 1950s-style way. He’s a relic of the past unfortunately inhabiting a public profile in the present.’
Vic is referencing Eddie’s 2016 joke about ‘drowning’ journalist Caroline Wilson on Triple M radio and other ‘racist’ comment about indigenous sportsman Adam Goodes, which also drew the ire of many.
Nine Network has not yet provided a statement on the matter, however Eddie told the Herald Sun the joke was intended with good humour.
‘It was about Scottish people, of which I am one,’ he said.
‘It was a joke aimed at myself and my family. We had a laugh, we moved on.’