The Project’s Waleed Aly has dug in deeper surrounding the mysteriously deleted interview that the star can’t get away from.
Waleed Aly has dug in deeper surrounding the controversial interview with former AFL star Heritier Lumumba — still refusing to apologise for the deleted video.
The Project host on Sunday revealed he will not apologise for the interview he conducted with Lumumba in 2017, before his football club, Collingwood, concluded from an internal investigation the club was guilty of fostering “systemic racism”.
The report was instigated after Lumumba made claims about enduring a “culture of racist jokes” and being nicknamed “Chimp” while playing for the Magpies between 2005-2014.
Aly interviewed Lumumba four years ago, during which he discussed the player’s alleged nickname, with viewers saying he appeared to cast doubt on the ex-player’s claims.
Footage of the controversial 2017 interview resurfaced in February after Collingwood’s bombshell “Do Better” report was released.
Former club president Eddie McGuire famously described the release of the report as a “proud day” for the club. He was forced to resign in the days that followed.
During the interview, Aly questioned why there weren’t many other players who had come forward and corroborated his claims about being called “Chimp”. Co-host Peter Helliar also questioned Lumumba’s claims and integrity.
Helliar has since made a public, unreserved apology on Twitter for his actions in the deleted interview.
The 42-year-old is still refusing to back away the interview — and stands by his scepticism.
“No, I don’t regret the interview at all,” Aly told The Daily Telegraph.
“I was approached to do the interview by his team, we did it. I asked the questions I think had to be asked in the circumstances it was for him to answer. I think that it’s been part of the process that has led us to this point.
“I think he’s entirely justified to feel vindicated by (the findings).”
Aamer Rahman, a friend Lumumba’s, led the criticism of Aly earlier this year when he said the popular host played a part in “discrediting” Lumumba.
“The questions were bizarre. For example, if Heritier was telling the truth, why wouldn’t more players admit to a culture of racism at the club? Imagine staking a victim’s credibility on why none of their abusers had publicly admitted to their behaviour,” Rahman wrote on Twitter in June last year.
He claimed the hour-and-a-half interview “brought Heritier to tears”, before slamming the interview was “unethical and dishonest”.