An Australian television presenter has apologised after for a comment she made while introducing a pair of British twin sisters on her show who have different skin colours, in which she appeared to congratulate one of them for her fair skin.
Lucy and Maria Aylmer display a rare genetic anomaly; Maria was born with the brown skin of her half Jamaican mother and Lucy was born with the fair skin of her father, though they are non-identical twin sisters.
But when introducing the twins on the Australian show, presenter Samantha Armytage described the appearance of each 18-year-olds and added a “Good on her!” comment about Lucy’s fair skin.
The interview aired over a month ago, but a petition on Change.org has been gathering pace since the segment appeared on TV, calling for Armytage to apologise for her remark, which had been branded “racist” and “offensive”.
Maria responded to the petition on Facebook, calling it “disgusting”. “We want this taken down. Sam is not a racist,” she wrote.
As the clip began to be shared more widely over the past week, Channel 7, the show’s producer and Armytage all released statements claiming that the presenter is very open about the troubles she has with her own fair skin, which runs in her family, adding that “anyone who has seen the clip in full will know that Sam was taking a dig at herself”.
Armytage said: “I would be mortified if anyone thought I would say or think anything racist. It’s not in my nature. To anyone who I might have offended, I’m sorry.”
The show’s producer Michael Pell added that “Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment,” and apologised for any misunderstanding or offence.
Finally, Lucy Aylmer put paid to furore in a lengthy Facebook post, stating: “Myself, my twin sister and our mother took no offence to Samantha Armytage's ‘good on her’ comment.
“We believe she did not mean this as a racial comment and we have taken no personal offence to it.
“We do not think it was necessary for her to apologize and I apologize to her for any distress it may have caused. We know what Samantha meant and that's all that matters to us so we would appreciate it if people would stop making this our problem.”