ENTERTAINMENT
12/10/2020 10:15 AM AEDT | Updated 15/10/2020 2:44 PM AEDT

Junior MasterChef Judge Melissa Leong Praises Jock Zonfrillo For Condemning Racism

"To be a white man calling out racism is important."

Channel 10
'Junior MasterChef Australia' judge Melissa Leong on 'The Project'

Melissa Leong has said fellow ‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ judge Jock Zonfrillo speaking out against racism towards her “is a perfect example of allyship”.

During an interview with ‘The Project’ on Sunday night, the food writer was asked about an incident from June when Jock condemned a viewer who used racist language to describe Melissa. 

“Jock posted a comment that someone left. It was a particularly racist comment, were you glad that Jock called that out?” ‘The Project’ host Lisa Wilkinson asked. 

“To be a white man calling out racism is important,” responded Mel. “You know Jock has become such a dear friend, he’s one of my work husbands and he’s just a great human being in terms of the way he sees others. That right there is a perfect example of allyship.”

Channel 10
'Junior MasterChef Australia' judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen

Back in June Jock shared a screenshot of a private Instagram message on his social media platform, in which the viewer, Graham, used the word ‘gook’, a derogatory term for people of East Asian descent.  

″Where to begin with this... Firstly I can only assume you are referring to @fooderati when you used the term ‘gook’....,” Jock wrote, tagging Melissa’s Instagram handle. 

“She’s actually Melissa, she’s my work wife, my sister, my mate, she drinks espresso like I do, she is able to express and articulate a damn sight better than you can clearly and that is just the beginning Graham. She’s a woman whose origin happens to be different than yours, but why does that make you so afraid?

“I feel sorry for you that you cannot see past the colour of someone’s skin or actually the fact they are just different than your white ass in any way.”

The Scottish celebrity chef asked the viewer to “get educated and be a better human”. 

“You owe it to yourself and everyone around you who are most probably too embarrassed by the shit you say to let you know.”

Jock warned his social media followers he wouldn’t tolerate being sent offensive private messages. 

“I’m sick of this type of thing getting sent to me so here’s a heads up... if you send this kind of shit to me it’s getting called out,” he said. 

Melissa, who is proud of her Singaporean-Chinese heritage, acknowledged her co-star’s support, saying at the time, “We have such a long way to go as a nation, if we think racism doesn’t exist.

“Thank you for being an ally, a friend and an awesome work husband.”

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Melissa, Jock and Andy Allen were the new judges on ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ earlier this year.

The entertaining trio returned on Sunday night for ‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ which features 14 contestants aged 9-14 competing in the kitchen.

Ben, Carter, Dev, Etka, Filo, Georgia, Laura, Phenix, Porsha, Ruby, Ryan, Salvo, Tiffany and Vienna beat almost 2,000 aspiring young cooks who auditioned.

‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ continues on Monday night at 7:30pm on Channel 10.

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