Kerri-Anne: ‘I don’t give a toss’
Kerri-Anne Kennerley has had more than her share of controversy in recent years, but she remains defiant of the haters and says she'd do it all again.
"I am who I am and I am not going to change for other people," said the veteran presenter and Studio 10 panellist.
Since the beginning of last year alone on the Channel 10 morning show, she was called a racist by guest Yumi Stynes for her views on abuse in indigenous communities, suggested that environmentalist protesters lying in the streets could be used "as a speed bump" and was accused of slut-shaming her colleague Antoinette Lattouf by asking her "did you forget your pants today?".
Each time social media blew up with demands for her to apologise or be sacked but Kennerley, who avoids Facebook and Twitter, said she couldn't care less about the opinions of faceless critics who want to attack her anonymously and would continue to speak her mind.
"I care about people that I admire or trust," she said. "And if a mate or family says 'you know what - that was a bit across the line, I will consider it. But anybody else, people I don't know or don't have the same thought process, like most of those on Twitter, I don't give a toss."
Kennerley said that as a long-time presenter of talk shows such as Good Morning Australia and Midday, her job was to draw insights and revelations from her guests, but now as part of the Studio 10 team, her role is to have forthright opinions that start conversations. But in a Sky News special due to air next month, The Death Of the Aussie Larrikin?, she laments that the rise of so-called political correctness is eroding free speech and Australians are losing the ability to laugh at themselves.
"It means people trying to gag me a lot," she said. "Political correctness to me means that you are too afraid to say what you really mean because one tenth or one per cent of the population might be hugely offended and can't laugh at themselves. What's wrong with us these days? You have to have a laugh."
Kennerley said Australians should be proud of the "larrikin" sense of humour of the likes of "genius" Paul Hogan, and her friend Delvene Delaney, who also appears in the doco along wide comedians Vince Sorrenti and Paul Fenech, and worried that it was in danger of disappearing due to self-censorship and fear of offending.
"I think there is a lot to be said for that because we have gone so woke these days that so many people are actually frightened to say what they think or have a joke, for God's sake," she said. "Not everybody is evil or cruel or homophobic or sexist. I think people just occasionally like a sense of humour. We in Australia - and you ask any other country in the world - are the greatest larrikins of all time because we can laugh at ourselves."