The DJ for the Mate Ma’a Tonga-Australia Test has become emotional while recalling the racist “dance monkey, dance” comment an NRL official directed at a Tongan fan on screen during a radio interview.
Alfred Aholelei told 531 PI radio station the man from the NRL made the comment in the DJ booth after a Tongan fan was shown on the dance cam during the halftime break.
“The comment was…’dance, monkey, dance’ and…I turned around, took my headphones off, and I looked at this guy in the face and I said, ‘Did you just say (that)?’’”
Mr Aholelei said the moment changed the whole event, which had been beautiful up until then, for him.
“I don’t know you from a bar of soap but you’ve just called that guy dancing on the benches a monkey, that’s my people,” he recalled thinking.
“That guy on the benches might not even have been Tongan but he is a Pasifika man, and to have that comment reduced that dude…to that.”
Mr Aholelei said he didn’t know if hate inspired the comments, but the incident showed words hurt.
“Hate’s a strong word and I don’t know if that was this guy’s intention, but words are strong and if you use the wrong word it can affect people,” he said.
Mr Aholelei said he was talking out to make sure racism like this isn't dismissed as normal, as it might be in certain parts of society.
The NRL integrity team are fully on board and he had a lengthy discussion with them yesterday, Mr Aholelei said.