Entertainment TV Garbage truck protest against SBS ‘poverty porn’
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Garbage truck protest against SBS ‘poverty porn’

Garbage trucks from Blacktown descend on SBS to protest.
ABC
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A blockade of garbage trucks that descended on SBS headquarters at Artarmon has failed to convince the broadcaster to pull a documentary series a western Sydney mayor has labelled as “publicly-funded poverty porn”.

The mayor of the town at the centre of the controversial reality series led the protest, demanding the show not go to air and accusing the broadcaster of misrepresenting the community.

Struggle Street is a three-part observational documentary that follows the lives of nine residents of Mount Druitt and is due to screen on Wednesday night.

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On Tuesday night, an emergency two-hour meeting with SBS management was held at Blacktown Council chambers to discuss the concerns of residents.

Residents said they are being portrayed in the worst possible light and want the show stopped, but SBS content chief Helen Kellie said the claims are unsubstantiated and the program will air.

Residents featured in the program said they want the show stopped.
Residents featured in the program said they want the show stopped. Photo: SBS

“It’s a raw reflection, but I do think that the show that you see is a fair reflection of the six months that we spent with these families and an important topic to tell,” she said.

But Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali has accused SBS of singling out Mount Druitt to “hang us out for public ridicule across the nation”.

“How dare they pick out a few people and treat them with contempt and actually have unethical practices, engineer scenes that are completely untrue, that are completely false. And try to pass of as documentary,” he said.

“It’s not a documentary, it’s publiclyfunded poverty porn.”

Cr Bali said the program “is absolutely crap” and the volunteer garbage truck drivers were at the protest to symbolise that sentiment.

“We just don’t think it’s fair what’s being put on TV,” one driver said.

The network said it had the complete support of the SBS board for the program which will still go to air tonight.

Cr Bali said “allegations” about the treatment of the participants were raised in the meeting last night.

He said the allegations revolve around the fabrication of events.

“(SBS) should at least delay it for a week, investigate (the claims) because their integrity is on the line,” he said.

But Ms Kellie said the allegations are unsubstantiated.

“I think these are very serious allegations that we take very seriously, but they are unsubstantiated, they have come in at the eleventh hour,” she said.

‘It absolutely destroyed my family’

Among those featured on the program are the Kennedy family.

Peta Kennedy, a mother of 10 children, said she trusted the show’s producers and felt betrayed and violated.

“It absolutely destroyed my family, it singled out my 19-year-old daughter who has heaps of disabilities,” she said.

Ms Kennedy said she is worried about how the show portrays her daughter Chloe, who has multiple disabilities and has been bullied since the promo aired on television.

“How can SBS and Keo (the production company) justify the amount of abuse and discrimination that (it) has caused my poor 19-year-old daughter,” Ms Kennedy said.

“It’s her I’m standing up for, it’s my husband I’m standing up for.”

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