The 2020 season of MasterChef Australia has arguably been its most diverse yet, seeing the hit cooking program refreshed with new judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo, and Andy Allen. But with that, has come an increasing number of viewers unfairly placing both sexist and racist remarks towards Leong – the only female judge on the panel.
Zonfrillo had seen enough of it this week, taking to Instagram to call out a racist troll who targeted Leong. Posting a screenshot of a message he received from a man named Graham, claimed the viewer was “sick” of “having to watch trailers of [Jock] and that painful g*ock” on TV and accused the pair of being “up themselves”.
“I can only assume you are referring to @fooderati when you used the term ‘g*ok’…She’s actually Melissa, she’s my work wife, my sister, my mate, she drinks espresso like I do, she is able to express and articulate a damn sight better than you can clearly.
“She’s a woman whose origin happens to be different than yours, but why does that make you so afraid?”
He continued, “I feel sorry for you that you cannot see past the colour of someone’s skin or actually the fact they are just different than your white ass in any way. Graham, please get educated and be a better human. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you who are most probably too embarrassed by the shit you say to let you know.”
“I’m sick of this type of thing getting sent to me so here’s a heads up…if you send this kind of shit to me it’s getting called out,” he finished.
Leong also took to the Instagram post to respond, saying: “We have such a long way to go as a nation, if we think racism doesn’t exist. Thank you for being an ally, a friend and an awesome work husband. ❤️.”
She also shared it to her personal Instagram, fixing the troll’s grammar. “I couldn’t help myself,” she said. “I had to mark this one up. Grammar is the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit, Graham.”
This isn’t the first time Leong has spoken out against racism in Australia. Speaking on Sharon Johal’s podcast, We Are The Real Ones, she opened up about wanting “to be understood” as an Australian woman of Chinese-Singaporean descent.
“Look, it’s not curing cancer by any means, but each and every one of us and our stories and our backgrounds matter,” she said. “Diversity to me means inclusivity. It means even representation for all walks of life — for the able and the differently-abled, for everyone from different parts of the world who speak different languages to be understood, to be seen, to be valued and not to be overlooked.”
Leong also opened up her experiences with Asian fetishisation, telling HuffPost Australia: “As a woman of Asian origin, it’s a daily onslaught of fetishistic comments from strangers about your appearance and sexuality, and if I’m asked, ‘But where are you really from?’ one more time, I might explode.”
“When you’re outgoing and you’re Asian and you’re a female, people go, ‘Oh that’s awesome, I’ve totally got yellow fever’. Well that’s really disgusting.”