“MasterChef Australia: Back To Win” contestant Sarah Tiong has called out a “racist” encounter she faced from a Triple M host on Wednesday.
Tiong told her Instagram followers that Triple M Sunraysia greeted her by trying to speak Chinese during a phone interview.
“Ni hao ma,” they said before speaking Cantonese “oh wait, would it be ‘lei ho ma?’ Anyway.”
The recently evicted MasterChef star said she doesn’t think the greeting went to air but she terminated the interview right away.
“I felt uncomfortable and shocked. The call was immediately ended,” she said in an Instagram Story.
“This is racism. What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself and do better.”
After a follower asked Sarah why using the Chinese phrase was offensive, she explained it is racist to presume a person automatically speaks Chinese because they are Asian
“It is racist to assume I identify as Chinese and speak the Chinese language. Even if I have referenced such heritage or knowledge in the past, it is privileged and ignorant to assume anything about me based on the colour of my skin.
“It is rude and privileged to assume I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent.
Sarah said the host’s mere presumption that she may speak or want to speak Mandarin or Cantonese and then flippantly dismissing the ability to distinguish the two languages is racist.
She concluded by saying she will not accept the “but my partner is Asian” excuse for racism.
Triple M Sunraysia issued this statement to HuffPost Australia: “Triple M Sunraysia unreservedly apologises for the offence caused by comments made to Sarah Tiong off-air this morning.”
“MasterChef Australia’s: Back To Win” host Melissa Leong backed Sarah and reminded Australians that this sort of behaviour is a daily battle for many people of colour in this country.
“It is not funny or clever,” Melissa said.
“It just illustrates how deep rooted racial toxicity is in this country, and anyone with a voice in media should know better.”