The ABC has responded to a media frenzy following News Breakfast host Michael Rowland’s sudden announcement on Wednesday morning that he is “off on a break”.
At the end of this morning’s show, the journalist revealed he would be taking some time off and that finance presenter Madeleine Morris will be joining his co-host “for the next little while”.
After his co-workers wished him well, Rowland went on to thank the program’s viewers. “You’ve been fabulous for the show in the time I’ve been on the show. It’s been great presenting to you and if it wasn’t for you, the viewers, none of us would be here doing what we do. It’s been a real honour,” he added.
Concerned his tone “sounded final”, Morris asked the host if he was coming back. Subsequent media reports seemed to suggest Rowland was stepping down from his role following Stan Grant walking away from the public broadcaster due to ongoing racial abuse and partisan attacks in the media.
Rowland has been among high-profile ABC personalities to speak out against the treatment of his colleague as staff walked off the job earlier this week.
ABC reveals reason for Michael Rowland’s time off
However, the ABC has confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that “Michael is going on a long-planned holiday he booked months ago” and will be back on TV on June 26.
Rowland himself took to Twitter to clarify his announcement. “Well that escalated quickly…” he wrote, alluding to the swift media speculation.
“Just taking some long-scheduled leave. I will be back on News Breakfast in late June. Look forward to seeing you then!”
Michael Rowland praises Stan Grant
The confusion comes after Rowland tweeted his support for his former colleague following Grant’s closing remarks on Monday night’s Q&A program.
“I am down but I will get back up. And you can come at me again and I will meet you with the love of my people,” the Wiradjuri man said, challenging the media to do better. “Don’t mistake our love for weakness, it is our strength. We have never stopped loving and fighting for justice and truth.”
On Tuesday, Rowland encouraged his followers to take the time to listen to Grant’s comments. “Racism is a scourge. We all need to do better in calling it out, and that includes the ABC. Take care, Stan,” he captioned footage of the moment.
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