News Coronavirus Nine backtracks on vaccine campaign ad after backlash for all-white cast

Nine backtracks on vaccine campaign ad after backlash for all-white cast

Channel Nine's vaccine campaign featuring Eddie McGuire
Channel Nine's campaign was howled down for its lack of ethnic diversity – initially featuring an all-white cast. Photo: Channel Nine
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Channel Nine has re-released its COVID vaccine advertising campaign after being blasted for the video only featuring white celebrities.

The public service promotion was full of Nine Entertainment stars like The Block’s Scott Cam, Allison Langdon and Eddie McGuire, all encouraging Australians to get vaccinated.

But all of them were caucasian.

The promo was engulfed by a wave of criticism over its lack of diversity following its release on Sunday evening.

A hasty edit was put out on Thursday, to include Today‘s Brooke Boney, who is a Gamilaroi/Gomeroi woman, and Asian travel presenters Kev and Teng.

In a statement accompanying the new advertisement, Michael Healy, Nine’s director of television said: “As we are in the midst of a global pandemic, 9 Network is continuing to support community awareness regarding COVID and to be informed about the vaccination, this is our shot for Australia to be connected again.

“It is an internal initiative and there will be a number of promos rolled out during this campaign,” Mr Healy said.

Channel 10 presenter and Media Diversity Australia co-founder Antoinette Lattouf was one of many to call out the ad for its all-white cast earlier on in the week.

“Yo @Channel9 you missed your shot at looking like you care about the health of anyone who isn’t white #getvaccinated #butonlyifyourewhite,” Lattouf tweeted.

Lauren Rosewarne, an associate professor in public policy, social and political sciences from the University of Melbourne, said it was apparent we have not learned from our mistakes.

“The ABC last November did all this promo from their upcoming 2021 line-up – they didn’t have a face of colour,” Dr Rosewarne said.

“It wasn’t even seven months ago. The exact same thing happened.”

A 2020 report by Media Diversity Australia revealed that when it came to on-screen appearances, only 6 per cent of reporters, presenters and commentators had either an Indigenous or non-European background.

More than 75 per cent were of Anglo-Celtic background.

As a multicultural country, Dr Rosewarne said Australian media companies need to catch up to the idea audiences expect people on TV to look like them.

“It’s one of those things, how long before we don’t have to rely on the Twitter police to get this stuff to happen?” Dr Rosewarne said.

“When is it just a decision made at production levels rather than social media jury?”