Former triple j Lunch host Gen Fricker has spoken out against incidents of racism she encountered while working at the broadcaster.
In a video shared to her Instagram account on Friday (June 5), Fricker expressed frustration after seeing “black tiles all over [her] feed” and criticised the broadcaster for its progressive branding, saying, “If you work at triple j and you’re white, you’re part of the problem”.
Explaining that she has been in conversation with people of colour who work with the broadcaster, Fricker says, “The difference between being not racist and anti-racist is calling out that shit.”
Fricker – who is of Māori descent – goes on to detail the isolation of being one of only two women of colour at the station during her time there and regularly needing to address behaviour by white colleagues.
“I don’t think you realise how fucking lonely it was being one of two brown people in those rooms having to explain why maybe a white woman singing in another language with no black people was a bit fucking problematic,” Fricker says in the video.
She recounts having to ask white co-workers to stop doing African-American accents in the office, and describes an incident where a manger had recorded a 30-minute long “demo sketch” in which he prank calls another coworker with an Indian accent, pretending to be an Indian call centre worker.
“The thing is, we try and say shit in the room about this but you just get tired. You get tired of having to fucking explain it all the time. And it would be really great if literally any of these people posting black tiles, posting tiles about how to support Indigenous people, black people, Black Lives Matter, literally did anything like that day-to-day,” Fricker says.
“It’s not enough to just put black people, Indigenous people at the front – let them fucking absorb all the kinds of horrific shit that gets said to them by your audience – and then go, ‘Oh, my work here is done.'”
“I want to shout out to all the people of colour in that building, and the black people and Indigenous people making music for that station. Because, you know, that’s the thing. I’m not talking to you because you know. You’re in my DMs.”
Addressing triple j, Fricker concludes by saying, “It starts with you. You’re gatekeepers of the culture, you have a massive influence. You need to stop trading off your progressive brand because it’s not real.”
“If you’re an employee and you’re there and you’re wondering if they’ll fire you for saying something, odds are if you’re white, they’re not going to fire you. It would be far more damaging for them to fire you for speaking out against racism, then for you to speak out about racism.”
Fricker was a triple j presenter for five years between 2014 and 2019, leaving the station in November of last year.