ENTERTAINMENT
29/06/2020 10:46 AM AEST | Updated 15 hours ago

MasterChef Australia's Jock Zonfrillo Calls Out Racism Towards Melissa Leong

"I feel sorry for you that you cannot see past the colour of someone’s skin," the judge told a viewer who sent him an offensive message.

Content warning: this article contains discussion around racial slurs.

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ judge Jock Zonfrillo has condemned a viewer who used racist language to describe judge Melissa Leong.

On Sunday 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?

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' judges Andy Allen, Jock Zonfrillo and Melissa Leong

“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, “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.”

Contestants from this year’s season also commented underneath the post. 

“Well done @zonfrillo 🙌,” wrote Poh Ling Yeow, whil Khanh Ong said, “Ally 🙏🙌❤️”. 

Earlier this year Melissa acknowledged her casting on the cooking show indicates some progress in terms of cultural and gender representation on TV.  

“I am aware that my presence signifies a positive step towards diversity in the media landscape and with that comes a responsibility,” she said.

“And while I take it seriously, I’m proud to be just a part of the groundswell; I do not stand alone. Together, we represent inclusivity, and a broadening of stories and perspectives, and it’s with pride that I walk forward in great company.” 

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'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' judge Melissa Leong

Having grown up in Australia after her parents migrated from Singapore in the 1970s, Melissa has previously said she is also the subject of Asian fetishisation, also known as ‘yellow fever’, on a daily basis. 

“As a woman of Asian origin, it’s a daily onslaught of fetishistic comments from strangers about your appearance and sexuality, and if I’m asked, ‘But where are you really from?’ one more time, I might explode,” Melissa previously told HuffPost Australia. 

“Being Asian and female and being quite a confident person who’s out there all the time, I hear it a lot,” she said. “People find energy attractive. When you’re outgoing and you’re Asian and you’re a female, people go, ‘Oh that’s awesome, I’ve totally got yellow fever’. Well that’s really disgusting.”