Erin Molan sues, saying story painted her as ‘racist’
Sports presenter Erin Molan is suing Daily Mail Australia over a story she claims painted her as "racist" and an "arrogant white woman of privilege" after she said "hooka looka mooka hooka fooka" on radio earlier this year.
The Nine star also alleges the outlet is responsible for generating a wave of further criticism over the remark, including an Instagram post in which former NRL star John Hopoate called her a "racist bitch".
Ms Molan copped criticism in June for uttering the baffling phrase on 2GB's NRL program Continuous Call after a reference to pronouncing player names.
In the awkward audio Ms Molan says "Dad!" twice and then "hooka looka mooka hooka fooka" in an accent before her co-host replies "What? I'm not sure what you said then".
Ms Molan apologised for the "clumsy" comments but strongly denied she was mocking Polynesian names and said she was referencing a story previously told on the show.
Now she is seeking damages, an injunction and costs in the Federal Court against Daily Mail Australia.
In court documents filed September 12 and seen by NCA NewsWire, Ms Molan alleges the outlet targeted her in a defamatory campaign that incorrectly quoted her as saying the comment was an "in-joke" and stated she refused to apologise.
The Wide World of Sports presenter is suing over a story published on June 5 entitled "Erin Molan refuses to apologise for her 'hooka looka mooka' jibe on live radio - as Pacific Islander women slam her for being 'complicit in racism' by mocking their names", as well as two tweets sharing it.
She says the story suggests she callously mocked Pacific Islander names and refused to apologise; that her inability to pronounce Pacific Islander names makes her disrespectful, incompetent and unfit to be an NRL commentator; and that she is a racist.
She also alleges the story, which referenced an Instagram post she made supporting anti-racism protests, suggests she "cynically used George Floyd's death to promote herself as sympathetic to Black Lives Matter" despite having mocked Pacific Islander names.
The story quotes Ms Molan as saying the phrase as an "in-joke", which she said is "completely made up".
Ms Molan argues the story spawned further criticism including a Change.org petition calling for her to be fired, a tweet from Victorian MP Dustin Halse and an Instagram post where Mr Hopoate wrote: "It was an inside joke between colleagues so it's OK. Just like when I accidentally trip this RACIST BITCH over and she falls and scrapes her RACIST mouth on the ground."
These were all a "natural and probable consequence" of the Daily Mail story and increase her claim to damages, Ms Molan argues.
The story and two tweets "gravely injured" her reputation and caused her hurt and embarrassment, the lawsuit states.
Daily Mail Australia told NCA NewsWire it is "strenuously defending the proceedings" and will file a defence shortly in accordance with court rules.
Ms Molan is being represented by Clayton Utz and the Daily Mail by Mark O'Brien Legal.
Ms Molan declined to comment through a Nine spokesperson.
The matter is first in court on October 16.
Originally published as Molan sues: Story painted me as 'racist'