ABC defends Patricia Karvelas from vile homophobic abuse

Patricia Karvelas on ABC News
Image: ABC News

ABC star Patricia Karvelas and the public broadcaster’s news director have hit out at “truly shocking” abuse the presenter suffered after speaking about her sexuality in an interview.

Last month, Patricia was one of a group of LGBTQIA+ journalists who shared personal stories about their lives and careers with ABC News.

Patricia told the ABC about her early days working in the “boys’ club” of the Canberra press gallery. At the time, she recalled feeling like she had to keep her sexuality a secret so as not to jeopardise her career.

But after the Daily Mail published her comments, the journalist then copped “truly shocking” homophobic and sexist abuse that she says made her feel “sick”.

Daily Mail writes story. Trolls target me for hours with vile stuff. My family is really proud of me, thanks,” she tweeted, replying to a now-deleted post.

“The stuff I’ve read is truly shocking. I didn’t even share the worst. Sexualised homophobia… it made me sick.”

ABC News boss blasts ‘disturbing’ online abuse

ABC’s Director of News Justin Stevens also weighed in, condemning both the abuse and the Daily Mail for “irresponsibly” platforming and amplifying it.

“It is disturbing, saddening and angering that Patricia should find herself the target of online trolling and abuse, much of it sexualised, homophobic and racist, just for speaking publicly about her life,” he said on Friday.

“For a major national media outlet to compound that abuse by publicising it and publishing personal photos to illustrate it is irresponsible and unjustified.

“Patricia Karvelas is a fine, principled journalist and a courageous and generous human being.

“We’re proud she works for the ABC and grateful for her hard work and huge contribution to the national public broadcaster and audiences.”

Quoting Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Justin Stevens said that journalists “are more likely to experience online abuse who are female, from diverse racial or social backgrounds, are younger, have a disability, or identify as LGBTIQ+.”

“It can have devastating professional and personal impacts,” he said.

“It can lead to the silencing of journalists, with some self-censoring, retreating from covering certain topics or leaving the industry.

“Media outlets should be combatting dangerous online abuse and gender-based and sexual bullying. [They should stand] in solidarity with peers experiencing it, not disingenuously serving to amplify it.”

‘Great sense of sadness’ after hiding her true self at work

Speaking to the ABC, Patricia Karvelas says she looks back on the days hid herself at work with a “great sense of sadness”.

Every day, she recalled, was “a day of navigation” as she tried to keep her sexuality and same-sex partner secret.

“I was very careful among my colleagues who I perceived not to be supportive [and] among politicians who I knew were hostile towards gay rights, which were many,” she said.

“People would be surprised by that. I think I’m well-known in the public as being someone who does stand up and isn’t really afraid of people.

“But that’s not what happens when you’re in a social environment where people think gay jokes are funny.”

Patricia Karvelas started out in the Canberra press gallery working for The Australian, before joining Sky News and then later the public broadcaster.

“I think back on those years with a great sense of sadness… as though I’ve missed my youth, and that I wasn’t able to be my full self at work,” she recalled.

Currently, Patricia is the host of RN Breakfast on ABC Radio National.

“I think if you’re your full self [at work], you do a better job,” she said.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Rachel M.
    3 November 2023

    We as a community need to understand that the bigots are emboldened. They saw off the “Aboriginal problem” on October 14.

    Queer people are their next targets. The trolls now believe that they can do as they please.

  2. Michael McDougall
    3 November 2023

    How anyone’s sexuality should cause anyone to feel a right to abuse them, let alone comment upon, is hard for any sane person to comprehend.
    Patricia Karvelas is an outstanding journalist and has a friendly style that is easy to warm too. It breaks my heart to know that the haters have caused her grief.
    I hope she understands she has fans like me who think she has much to add to the national conversation.

  3. Peter Turner
    4 November 2023

    I’m a huge Patricia Karvelas fan and I am shocked that in 2023 she has been the victim of such vile sexist and homophobic abuse.
    I would encourage her to name and shame her abusers (given that most of them will no doubt be anonymous cowardly trolls) and seek legal advice regarding The Daily Mail’s attacks.

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