02 June 2020

Australian rugby league TV presenter Matty Johns issues grovelling apology after using photo of Adolf Hitler as a cardboard cut-out spectator

An image of Hitler among a crowd of cardboard cut-out spectators caused uproar when broadcast on a rugby league show by Fox Sports Australia

The mock-up was shown on The Sunday Night with Matty Johns programme when they broadcast highlights from a game between Manly and Canterbury at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.

The TV company and presenter Matthew Johns have both apologised.

A statement from the channel said they were ’very concerned by an incident involving an inappropriate image shown as part of a segment discussing NRL crowd cutouts’.

“We sincerely apologise for the offence the image has caused,” they added.

Johns, 48, who is a former NRL player, admitted the ’inappropriate’ sketch should not have gone to air.

He said: "The segment on my Fox League show on Sunday in which we showed an image of Hitler in crowd cut-outs was in poor taste and completely inappropriate.

"I know Fox Sports has apologised but I need to personally step up to this. 

“I know how raw and devastating those events remain for so many people and families,” he added.

“I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologise to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment.”

“I've reached out and spoken directly to Vic Alhadeff at the Jewish Board of Deputies this morning to apologise to the Jewish community and I'll be apologising on air to all our viewers on Thursday night's show,” he said.

While NRL fans were able to pay $22 to have personalised cardboard cut-outs placed in the empty stadiums, the show mocked up their own photo-shopped image of the Nazi leader in the crowd.

Alex Ryvchin, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said: "This sort of stupidity, the casualisation of Hitler, Nazis, and by extension their crimes, is what leads to swastikas being graffitied throughout our cities and school kids being harassed with gas chamber jokes."

Ryvchin has since acknowledged the apology and said he hopes this ’leads to greater tolerance and understanding’. 

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