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Claims Australian TV is racist

This week both Firass Dirani and Jay Laga’aia have said they reckon Australian TV should pay attention to the country’s multi-cultural heritage.

Firass Dirani

Yesterday Firass Dirani (pictured), star of The Straits and Underbelly: The Golden Mile, came out saying he thinks Australian TV does not represent the broader Australian population.

He said shows such as Neighbours, Packed to the Rafters and Winners & Losers do not give an accurate picture of Australia’s multiculturalism.

“Those people on Winners & Losers in their floral colours and their pastels. I don’t even know people like this. We need to watch ourselves, warts and all; flaws and all,” he said.

“There has to be a call for the networks to put on shows with these cultural differences because this is who we are in 2012.”

“Hopefully the networks start writing shows that cater for different actors and different cultural backgrounds.”

TV star Jay Laga’aia, who was born in Auckland and is of Samoan descent, added his voice today via Twitter.

“Hats off to you Firass Dirani, for a call to stop commercial network producers casting only white actors. Only on Australian screens. Shame!” tweeted the former star of Home and Away.

He went on to tweet: “I think commercial TV should take a leaf out of children’s TV in this country. We are a rainbow nation in kids’ TV. No tokens here.”

Jay claimed he lost his job on Home and Away due to reasons of ethnicity. In a tweet he said: “As someone who lost his job on H&A because they couldn’t write two ethnics that weren’t together, I’d like a chance to ply my trade freely.”

Channel 7, which airs Home and Away, denied Jay’s claims.

“We have great regard for Jay and his work on Home and Away during the last two years. It is insulting to suggest that Home and Away is racist,” said the station.

Image courtesy of Robert Wallace/

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