Nine broadcaster Erin Molan has told the federal court she does not think she participated in the mockery of Polynesian names when she said “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka” on 2GB last year.
The 39-year-old is suing Daily Mail Australia for defamation over an article and two tweets which she says portray her as racist.
The barrister for the Daily Mail, Bruce McClintock SC, wrapped up his cross-examination of Molan on Wednesday morning, on the Nine NRL commentator’s third day in the virtual witness box.
“Ms Molan you really have no insight into why what you did was wrong?” McClintock asked.
Molan: “Sir, the way the Daily Mail reported what I did was wrong. What I did? No, I do not believe was wrong.”
Molan said on Tuesday that the May broadcast and other clips played to the court had nothing to do with mocking someone’s name and ethnicity.
The Nine presenter said “it was a running joke on the show to attempt to do accents from all over the world” and the humour lay in the hosts laughing at their own “bad” accents.
“You don’t think, do you, that you were mocking or participating in the mockery of Polynesian names, do you?” McClintock asked.
Molan: “No, never.”
McClintock: “You and [co-host Darryl Brohman] were happily participating in stereotypical racial mockery of the Polynesian players names. That’s right isn’t it?”
Molan: “Sir, we were laughing at Ray and Chris Warren and their battle with each other to agree on how to pronounce a made up name, I do not agree with that at all.”
Molan said she did not agree that the broadcast was offensive to Polynesian people and said she had never received a complaint about the segments played in court. The Daily Mail brought race into it, she said.
“We are listened to by plenty of NRL players and as I said we are broadcast into New Zealand, which has a huge Māori community,” Molan said. “We are broadcasting to Pacific island nations, not one person ever expressed offence, quite the contrary to anything that we did on that show.”
Molan said she was not offended when people made fun of her name and called her “moley, mole”, but she agreed there was no racial element to it.
Veteran Channel Nine broadcaster Phil Gould has told the court his colleague Molan is a true professional, a role model for girls and is definitely not a racist. “It was rather sort of farcical accusation [by the Daily Mail],” Gould said. “She’s always been a very respectful girl.”
Molan’s mother, Anne Molan, told the court her daughter was “despairing” after the Daily Mail published the article and the tweets. She said her daughter was “confused because the reports were not true”.
Anne Molan said that, after the Daily Mail filed their defence, she took a road trip with her distraught daughter. She said they had stopped by the side of the road and she momentarily feared Erin had thoughts of self-harm.
“A car went by and Erin’s face, Erin’s eyes, were vacant, and I just had an instant thought that she may have the intention to do something to herself, to cause self-harm,” Anne Molan said.
The trial continues.
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