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Portugal. The Man Cancels 'Sunrise' Appearance Over Racism Controversy

The show still hasn't apologised over its all-white panel on whether "at risk" Aboriginal kids should be taken from their families.

by VICE Staff
02 May 2018, 1:08am

Portugal. the Man at Way Back Festival, image via Wikimedia Commons

US band Portugal. The Man has pulled out of a scheduled appearance on Australian breakfast program, Sunrise, over a recent racism controversy that's hit the show.

"We were scheduled to appear on Sunrise tomorrow morning but we have decided, as a band, that we do not want to be part of that show at this time," the group tweeted on Tuesday night. "We come from rural Alaska and hold very close to our hearts the indigenous people of our home."

The move comes after Sunrise sparked controversy back in March, by featuring an all-white panel discussing whether "at risk" Aboriginal kids should be adopted by white families.

“Post-Stolen Generation, there’s been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they’re being neglected in their own families," host Samantha Armytage said during the segment. "Just like the first Stolen Generation, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their well-being, we need to do it again," panelist Prue MacSween remarked.

Sunrise, which holds the title of "Australia's most popular breakky show," has been the subject of protests ever since. First outside its studio in Martin Place, Sydney, where the show's producers were accused of "covering up" the protest by using green screen to project an empty street behind the hosts.

Protestors also picketed Sunrise's coverage of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, calling for an apology for the panel. Young Indigenous activist Dylan Voller—who rose to prominence after Four Corners exposed his treatment inside the Don Dale Youth Detention Facility—was taken into custody by Queensland Police during one of these actions.

Portugal. The Man was visiting Australia as part of the Groovin the Moo festival.