Sky News Host Peter Stefanovic Sparks Outrage over ‘Racist’ Interview with Aboriginal Teen Who Won $1M

Sky News host Peter Stefanovic has come under fire for overshadowing what should’ve been a joyous moment for young Indigenous man Keegan Payne by attempting to ambush him during an awkward interview.

The 19-year-old made history on Sunday by clinching the top prize in the Northern Territory’s Million Dollar Fish competition. However, what should have been a happy occasion quickly turned sour as Stefanovic decided to focus on an alleged past misdeed, casting doubt over Payne’s achievement.

The right-wing commentator was interviewing Payne, who hails from the rural NT town of Katherine, about becoming the first person to win the lucrative $1 million barramundi bounty while out fishing with friends and his sister on the Katherine River.

However, instead of congratulating the excited teen, Stefanovic hijacked the celebratory moment by interrogating him about an alleged theft incident that occurred when he was 16, leaving Payne flabbergasted and downcast.

“Someone else has come out of the woodworks today, there is a claim online that you stole a Polaris Ranger and a Polaris quad that you and your friends stole and damaged from a business a few years back. First of all, is that true?” Stefanovic asked?

After a brief awkward pause, a visibly uncomfortable Payne replied, “yes”.

“So what happened,” Stefanovic pressed.

“Ah…we weren’t thinking at the time, [we were] still young at that age…and yeah that came up with the idea and we weren’t thinking and just went with it,” Payne said shrugging his shoulders.

“Do you regret it?” Stefanovic pried.

“Yep big time,” Payne said.


Sky News host Peter Stefanovic hijacked what should’ve been a celebratory moment for Indigenous teen Keegan Payne by attempting to criminalise him during an awkward interview. Instead of congratulating the young Indigenous man, who made history by winning a $1milliom fishing prize, the right-wing commentator decided to focus on an alleged past misdeed sparking national outrage. Read the full story at BACKCOVERNEWS.COM #thebackcover #backcovernews #skynews #australianmedia #racism #indigenous #aboriginal #peterstefanovic #whiteaustralia

♬ original sound – The Back Cover

Stefanovic, who is married to Channel 9’s Today Extra personality Sylvia Jeffreys, continued with the inappropriate line of questioning, at one point suggesting the Aboriginal teen give some of his $1million prize money to the unnamed business.

Outraged viewers took to social media after the clip aired and condemned Stefanovic.

City of Sydney Councillor, Yvonne Weldon, a proud Wiradjuri woman, led calls for Stefanovic to apologise to Payne.

Stefanovic is married to Channel 9's Today Show Extra personality Sylvia Jeffreys. Credit: Instagram.
Stefanovic is married to Channel 9’s Today Extra personality Sylvia Jeffreys. Credit: Instagram.

“I’m absolutely APPALLED by Sky News and Peter Stefanovic’s questioning of young Keegan Payne… Australian media has a long history of demonising and shaming our young people. Enough is enough!” Weldon wrote on Facebook.

“Peter Stefanovic needs to make a genuine and unqualified apology. And if he can’t do so, he ought to stand down.”

Former political journalist Lauren Dubois wrote, “…The face they could take  a sweet story like this and go ‘how can we trash this child and make this happy story a hit job?’ They must all be proud of themseleves… .”

Other viewers called the interview “mean and unnecessary” and “racist”.

In a statement to BACKCOVERNEWS.COM on Friday, Stefanovic and Sky News apologised for the inappropriate line of questioning following widespread backlash.

“On Wednesday 1 May 2024, Sky News Australia broadcast a live interview of Keegan Payne by Peter Stefanovic on First Edition.  The interview concerned Mr Payne’s win in the Northern Territory’s Million Dollar Fish Competition,” the statement read.

“During the interview Mr Stefanovic asked Mr Payne questions about claims he had been involved in the theft of a Polaris Ranger and Polaris Quad from his former employer in 2021. 

Mr Payne confirmed the claims and apologised to his former employer on-air.  Mr Payne’s former employer subsequently told Sky News Australia that he did not proceed with police charges and had accepted Mr Payne’s apology. 

Sky News Australia and Peter Stefanovic apologise to Mr Payne and his family for raising these claims during the live interview about his million dollar win in the fishing competition. 

Mr Stefanovic has reached out to Mr Payne and his family directly to convey his apology.”

Mibenge Nsenduluka

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