A Channel Nine executive has ripped into Mark Latham over ‘totally unacceptable’ tweets about 60 Minutes presenter Sarah Abo – with the network warning it will report his comments to ‘authorities’.
The One Nation MP tweeted ‘never trust an Abo with something as important as that’ after she hosted Sunday night’s election debate between Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison.
Mr Latham’s tweet sparked uproar as it was immediately interpreted as a slur about indigenous Australians.
But he told Daily Mail Australia his tweet was misinterpreted by what he dubbed the ‘outrage industry’.
‘(The clash on Twitter was) an example of how the Outrage Industry fails to understand how words can have multiple meanings, and the true meaning lies with the speaker, not necessarily the listener’, he said.
Channel Nine boss Darren Wick has slammed One Nation MP Mark Latham’s divisive tweets about 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo (pictured) as ‘totally unacceptable’
One Nation MP Mark Latham (pictured) has been slammed for a ‘tasteless’ tweet attacking the leaders debate host Sarah Abo
Mr Latham also tweeted ‘Abo has lost control’ after the two contenders continued to ignore the hosts’ repeated pleas for them to move on to other questions.
He continued: ‘I said ‘Albo has lost control’ and Twitter heads thought that was an attack on Albo and/or racism. Dopes. Sarah Abo was the moderator.’
Mr Latham said the controversy had highlighted how ‘the idiots on Twitter had no idea the moderator was Sarah Abo’.
He said the Today Show’s Karl Stefanovic would have done a better job moderating the debate than Ms Abo.
‘Karl would have done a much better job keeping the two shouters/interrupters under control, speaking one at a time,’ he continued.
The controversy sparked a scathing backlash from Channel Nine.
Nine News director Darren Wick said the One Nation MP’s tweets were a ‘disgrace’ and defended the journalist against criticisms she had lost control of the politicians.
‘The tweet from Mark Latham last night is a disgrace, racist and totally unacceptable,’ Mr Wick said.
‘Sarah Abo is an outstanding journalist and handled the robust nature of a debate of this scale with intelligence, calmness and professionalism.
‘That can’t be said for Mr Latham’s tweet, we will be reporting his comments to authorities.’
When pressed on which authorities would be contacted about the tweets, a spokeswoman said the network would be ‘exploring our options’.
Mr Latham took to Twitter following the tumultuous debate to criticise Abo’s performance with a tweet that quickly caught the attention of other users
One Nation MP Mark Latham said Today Show host Karl Stefanovic (pictured with co-host Allison Langdon) would have been a better host for the second leaders debate
His double-down comes after furious Twitter users reacted to the ‘tasteless’ tweet by claiming the politician had used a racial slur to critique the moderator.
‘Not sure about this one Mark’, one user tweeted to the NSW upper house MP.
‘Snickering like a schoolboy I bet. C’mon Mark, this is tasteless,’ another user said.
‘Wow, I mean wow. I’m old enough to remember when even Mark Latham didn’t say this sort of stuff out loud,’ a third agreed.
The controversy on social media led Mr Latham to describe Twitter as a ‘sewer’ on Monday morning.
Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Morrison (centre) have been slammed for their ‘terrible’ treatment of 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo (right( after refusing her requests they move on
It comes as Mr Albanese and Mr Morrison have been slammed for their ‘terrible’ treatment of Ms Abo, a 60 Minutes reporter who previously cut her teeth at SBS.
Both continued to bicker and shout over the top of one another despite her pleas for them to stop.
In one uncomfortable moment the host noticeably struggled to get a word in during a drawn-out discussion about China and the Solomon Islands.
‘I think we are getting more questions … Excuse me. I think we’re getting more questions between the two of you than from our panel,’ Ms Abo said.
As the pair continued to bicker she tried again to moderate but was waved off by Mr Morrison who told her he was in the middle of making ‘a very important point’.
‘Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese, this is enough, we do need to move on,’ she said.
After her pleas fell on deaf ears for the second time, she was forced to remind the leaders they had both agreed to play by the debate rules.
‘You all agreed to the rules this evening. Chris Uhlmann has a question, and we will move on to his question,’ she said.
Viewers were quick to criticise the leaders (pictured) for their blatant disrespect for Abo and said the constant interruptions made for a poor leaders debate
Just moments later, the host was ignored once again by the fired-up Labor leader.
‘Something that Mr Albanese — we have a question. Mr Albanese, we have given you more than enough time,’ she told him.
‘The pair of you have had more than enough time. You agreed… You agreed to these rules before coming on the program tonight.’
Viewers criticised both leaders for their blatant disrespect for Ms Abo.
‘The flippant dismissal and wave of his hand to Sarah Abo just now is not going to do much for Morrison’s ‘woman problem’,’ one woman wrote.
‘This is truly terrible. Where is the moderator,’ one commentator asked on Twitter.
‘Letting them talk over each other makes for a pretty poor #leadersdebate,’ another agreed.
The network initially declared Mr Albanese as the preferred Prime Minister between the pair despite the glitch leaving thousands unable to vote online
Mr Albanese (pictured) said the Solomon Islands’ new secret security deal with China amounted to a ‘massive foreign policy failure’ by the Government
Frustrated viewers also complained of a faulty online voting poll which at one point listed the Coalition twice, forcing Channel Nine to address the technical glitch.
‘We are experiencing high volumes of traffic at the moment. Please bear with us and you will have the chance to have your say,’ the network tweeted.
‘Was pressing Labor for over a minute, decided to record and tap a few more times – nothing. Clicked Coalition for a gag, and as I went to click it again it worked immediately. Uh, rigged? #LeadersDebate,’ one woman tweeted.
The network initially declared Mr Albanese as the preferred Prime Minister between the pair despite the glitch leaving thousands unable to vote online.
It later announced Mr Morrison as the winner before votes shifted back towards Mr Albanese and was later locked at 50-50.
Viewers at home found themselves unable to vote on their preferred leader with a technical glitch also listing the Coalition twice as frustrated voters took to Twitter to complain
The second debate between the two leaders left many viewers unimpressed by the coverage
On national security, the Labor leader said the Solomon Islands’ new secret security deal with China amounted to a ‘massive foreign policy failure’ by the Government.
He also blasted Mr Morrison over the Northern Territory government leasing Darwin Port to a Chinese company in 2015 – which Mr Morrison defended by saying the Commonwealth Government had no say in the deal.
Mr Morrison savagely blasted his opponent in a high-tempered brawl over their policies on a federal anti-corruption commission the PM has failed to deliver.
He said Mr Albanese had not even tried to come up with his own version of a corruption commission after rejecting the Coalition’s model.
‘Do you have draft legislation for the commission,’ Mr Morrison asked his opponent.
‘You have put forward a private members bill. So you can but you have not done one for this proposal you are excited about. You don’t have any plan.’
Mr Morrison (pictured) savagely blasted his opponent in a high-tempered brawl over their policies on a federal anti-corruption commission the PM has failed to deliver
In the early stages of the showdown Mr Albanese slammed the Prime Minister’s plan to ease pressure on households with one-off additional tax relief for low and middle income earners and the temporary halving of fuel duty until September.
The first fiery moment of the night came after Mr Morrison spruiked his Budget measures to ease cost of living pressures.
Mr Albanese replied: ‘The problem with what Scott just said [is that] the cost of living measures that he spoke about are all temporary.
‘They have all the sincerity of a fake tan – they disappear once people have cast their vote and people are back on their own again.’