Channel Nine’s NRL Footy Show has apologised for former player Beau Ryan’s segment on Thursday night’s program, which numerous viewers slammed as racist.
During a visit to Wentworthville in Sydney’s west for his regular “Beau Knows” segment, Ryan stopped beside a woman of Asian heritage while she was taking a picture of three dogs in the glass door of a business.
“Picking out which one for dinner?” the 31-year-old asked before grinning at the camera.
The show also tweeted a nine-second video of the exchange on Thursday night, which was deleted almost an hour later.
The tweet was met with widespread criticism on social media, including accusations it was “racist” and “moronic”.
Ryan also said in the pre-recorded segment that Wentworthville was a town of many cultures before asking two men of Lebanese and Chinese heritage of their nationalities, then quipping: “Lebanese and Chinese – wouldn’t have picked it.”
The show’s executive producer, Glenn Pallister, apologised for the skit on Friday morning.
“We apologise for any offence caused, the segment is a comedy one where we have fun with people, but not intentionally at their expense,” he said in a statement to Fairfax Media.
“We clearly went too far on this occasion.”
Footy Show co-host Erin Molan was also forced to dodge questions on the matter on Friday morning when she claimed she wasn’t on the set when the footage went to air.
“I didn’t actually see it go to air but I saw it this morning so I’m going to plead the fifth on that one,” she told WSFM.
“But it was lovely to have him back on the panel – God bless his cotton socks.”
The segment went to air just a day after Queensland forward Sam Thaiday attracted criticism for his post-match interview on Nine, in which he said winning the opening State of Origin game was “a bit like losing your virginity”.