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Unemployed workers to hold pitching event ahead of SBS poverty porn premiere
We will bring together people living in poverty to provide journalists and producers with news and entertainment story ideas that give us agency, depth and power.
The latest SBS poverty porn project will air its first instalment on Wednesday 17 November. Produced by Lune Media, ‘Could You Survive On The Breadline?’ is the broadcaster’s latest voyeuristic effort to turn poverty into entertainment.
The Antipoverty Centre will host a media event at 7:15pm on 17 November ahead of the show’s 8:30pm premiere, bringing together people living in poverty to critique it, and to provide journalists and producers with news and entertainment story ideas that give us agency, depth and power. The event is free and open to all.
Speakers will lead a conversation about how well-intentioned acts can cause us harm and share unemployed people's ideas about how we should be represented in the media.
The event will include pitches for news and entertainment stories that would meaningfully engage with what living in poverty means for our lives.
When: 7:15pm Wednesday 17 November
Who: Antipoverty advocate Jeremy Poxon and Disability Support Pension recipient Kristin O’Connell will host the event. They will be joined by social security recipients who have previously had their stories used in the media: Melissa Fisher, Erica Watson and Joey King.
7:15 Opening remarks including critique of new SBS project
7:25 Panel discussion featuring unemployed people talking about their experiences in the media
7:45 Pitching session for stories about social security, poverty, unemployment and disability
8:15 Formal event concludes
8:30 Unemployed workers and others trapped in the social security system will watch the new SBS show and share their perspectives on social media using the hashtag #CouldYouSurviveOnTheBreadline
9:30 After the show has aired the Antipoverty Centre will host an online debrief for anyone who would like to talk about how it affected them
The trailer for the SBS program and subsequent coverage, including in the Guardian, has exceeded antipoverty advocates worst fears about the use of harmful tropes and misrepresentation. Following its release on 22 October the Antipoverty Centre’s Kristin O’Connell was inundated with messages from unemployed workers expressing rage, distress, frustration and despair.
The makers of the show first contacted O’Connell in January 2021 seeking her assistance recruiting unemployed people to participate. They were provided extensive verbal and written feedback in response to their plans, including offers of free labour to ensure that the show did not continue SBS’s track record of exploitative poverty coverage.
Shows like this cause direct, tangible harm to vulnerable people who need and deserve care. From SBS’s latest effort to Pru Goward opining on the proletariat, when we are othered and objectified it does not help us, regardless of good intentions.