Waleed Aly stands by controversial interview

 

The Project's Waleed Aly is standing by his controversial TV interview with former AFL star Heritier Lumumba despite the ongoing criticism.

Last month, Channel 10 removed clips of the 2017 sit-down from it's online platforms after footage of Aly doubting Lumumba's claims of racism resurfaced following an investigation which found Collingwood Football Club guilty of "systemic racism".

"No, I don't regret the interview at all," Aly said at the red carpet premiere of Hamilton.

"I was approached to do the interview by his team, we did it. I asked the questions I think had to be asked in the circumstances it was for him to answer. I think that it's been part of the process that has led us to this point.

"I think he's entirely justified to feel vindicated by (the findings)."

 

Former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba. Picture: Michael Klein
Former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba. Picture: Michael Klein

At the time, Gold Logie winner Aly and his co-host, Peter Helliar, questioned Lumumba's claim that he was called a "chimp" by his Collingwood teammates between 2005-2014.

"We can't find anyone who would speak to us who knew of that nickname over a playing career of 10 years," Helliar said in 2017.

"Even if you have to name names, take us into your experience. Paint the picture so we understand it more. Because if you don't do that, then it just sounds like you're smearing an entire club."

In December last year, an independent review commissioned by Collingwood Football Club found evidence of racism within the club and shortly thereafter, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire announced he would be stepping down later this year.

Waleed Aly said he has no regrets about his 2017 interview with former AFL star Heritier Lumumba.
Waleed Aly said he has no regrets about his 2017 interview with former AFL star Heritier Lumumba.

Lumumba responded to the findings on Twitter.

"... CFC's damage control tactics are predictable. They likely include a strategically crafted apology that will attempt to spin its way out of real accountability," he wrote.

"CFC has constantly avoided acknowledging their toxicity and institutional failures, or how they punished me for speaking out and used their power as an institution to publicly discredit me."

ABC Offsiders panellist Gideon Haigh led criticism surrounding The Project after the Collingwood report findings were made public.

Peter Helliar (second left) has apologised for comments made on The Project about Heritier Lumumba. Also pictured is Steve Price, Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore.
Peter Helliar (second left) has apologised for comments made on The Project about Heritier Lumumba. Also pictured is Steve Price, Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore.

"Was it ever seriously so difficult to believe Lumumba? It seems to me the journalists bought readily into the club's campaign to discredit him because of their need for access, because of their general conformity and frankly their whiteness," Haigh said.

Helliar later apologised on Twitter however Aly has not.

"I urge all fans & members to demand better from @CollingwoodFC . This report is heartbreaking. To @iamlumumba I am truly, unequivocally sorry. I should have believed you. I will do better," Helliar wrote.

 

Originally published as Waleed Aly stands by controversial interview