September 7, 2021

Guy Sebastian criticises ‘false narrative’ as he goes head to head with Ray Hadley about vaccination message

Guy Sebastian criticises ‘false narrative’ as he goes head to head with Ray Hadley about vaccination message

Guy Sebastian has phoned in to Ray Hadley’s 2GB radio program in a bid to clear up the confusion and stem the backlash to his messaging on vaccinations.

Hadley kicked off the conversation by telling Sebastian he was disappointed in him, a sentiment which Sebastian equally directed back onto the radio host.

“I’m equally disappointed in you, Ray. I think that’s a very false narrative, and you’ve actually missed the whole point of what I was saying,” Sebastian said.

The ‘narrative’ in question is Sebastian’s stance on vaccinations and the music industry’s #VAXTHENATION campaign.

Sebastian was one of many big names who signed onto the campaign, which encourages the population to get their COVID-19 vaccinations in order to stop the interruptions and get life, and the live industry, back on track.

Like many artists signed up to the campaign, Sebastian posted it to his social media to promote it.

Last night, however, he deleted it, and issued an apology to his followers, saying it was posted to his page without his direct involvement.

“I would never, ever tell people what to do when it comes to their personal health choices. I’m very sensitive of it not only on a public level, but even in my personal life, with people who have circumstances that they have to consider when making these choices.
“So I just want to say I’m really sorry. It was not a post that communicated with love or compassion, which I feel is what’s needed when it comes to addressing things like vaccinations. And so I just wanted to clarify so that I could speak my truth and people knew how I actually feel.”

Hadley pointed out that this came across as a back down and would rally the anti-vaxxers.

Sebastian countered that he was referring to, and considerate of, people who cannot be vaccinated from COVID-19 due to medical conditions. He did not want to pressure those people or exclude them, he said.

Hadley noted, on numerous occasions, that this wasn’t clear in Sebastian’s apology video, and suggested he needed to make his wording more clear, to give the public clarity he was referring to those who are unable to be vaccinated, rather than those who actively resist it.

Sebastian rejected the idea there was confusion in his messaging.

“I’ve been very clear of my stance. Personally, I am pro-vax, but I’m saying that there are genuinely people, and many of your listeners know them, who don’t fall into conspiracy theory – I’m against things that are ill-informed, but if your doctor has said that you have a certain condition that is something that you have to consider that puts you in a high-risk category, then we have to follow the advice of our medical professionals,” he said.

“And I’m saying, I’m with you, Ray, and I applaud you for your stance and your approach, I’m just saying it was my personal post, the comment that was posted on my behalf, it dealt in absolutes, and it’s not how I personally choose to get the message [out].

“I am with the campaign. I have cancelled my tour now three times. My last gig was in December of 2019 in Amsterdam. I, more than anyone, want this to get going. I’m just saying, me personally, I want to consider the make-up artists who I personally know who has a very serious disease who can’t work unless she gets the jab, and they’re humans. We can deliver this message with still not lumping them into the anti-vax conversation. I think that’s fair to say.”

He added later: “I know who I am, and I know my heart in that video, and I said quite clearly there are people who have other circumstances they need to consider. I don’t think I need to clarify myself.”

The conversation went back and forth for over eight minutes before Hadley pulled the pin.

“Anyway, okay, I’ve given you the opportunity. Thanks for your time, Guy Sebastian. I still think you’re wrong.”

The organisers of the #VAXTHENATION campaign also issued a statement on today’s events.

“We all miss our loved ones – our friends, our family, and being able to gather again. We all want to get back to the magic of live events. #VAXTHENATION is not a political campaign tied to any Government, and we welcome open conversation. The campaign is self-funded by the industry and the position of the LIVE Alliance (Live Industry Venues and Entertainment Alliance) is that high vaccination rates are the only way to get the show back on the road. We are encouraging people to seek professional health advice and make an informed choice. Head to our website vaxthenation.com.au/resources to read more about informed consent,” the organisers said.

You can listen to, or read, the full exchange between Ray Hadley and Guy Sebastian below.

RH: I’m very disappointed in you, to tell you the truth, that you have recanted on, or you’ve decided after what you said in March, that vaccination’s not as important to you as perhaps it was to you in March when you made comments to the Adelaide Advertiser.

GS: I’m equally disappointed in you, Ray. I think that’s a very false narrative, and you’ve actually missed the whole point of what I was saying.

RH: What’s the point?

GS: Mate, I haven’t said I don’t support vaccinations. I’m double jabbed myself, and like you said, you used the point against me, that I said ‘When that thing’s ready, stick it in me’.

But, my point is that there are people who are personal to me, that I have personal relationships [with], and also fall into a category of consideration, and so I personally choose to be inclusive of people who have genuine reasons – I mean I’m talking about teachers who have taught for 25 years that can’t teach, I’m talking about musicians and fellow crew that have legitimate medical reasons, why it’s a much more difficult situation…

RH: … Hang on a sec, in your message, you never mentioned people with medical conditions, you never mentioned it. I’ve listened to it five times. You never mentioned it. You never specifically said ‘People who have a medical condition shouldn’t have a vaccine’…

GS: But in my message, I said I support the initiative. I just think when the message is delivered, it shouldn’t be done in a way to shame the people who don’t fall into an anti-vax category…

RH: We can stop all this, Guy by playing, we can play it again so people can make up their own adjudication.

  • Ray Hadley plays Guy Sebastian audio…..

RH: So now, Guy Sebastian, you’re saying that you’re clarifying it again, by referring to people specifically with a medical condition that won’t allow vaccination – is that what you’re saying?

GS: I think you’re ignoring my statement altogether, especially at the end where I said we need to consider people with specific circumstances.

RH: Yea, well you didn’t say ‘medical condition’. You lump in anti-vaxxers and anti-COVID people by suggesting that….

GS: No, I’m not….

Ray, you’re lumping that in, buddy.

Like, I’ve been very clear of my stance. Personally, I am pro-vax, but I’m saying that there are genuinely people, and many of your listeners know them, who don’t fall into conspiracy theory – I’m against things that are ill-informed, but if your doctor has said that you have a certain condition that is something that you have to consider that puts you in a high-risk category, then we have to follow the advice of our medical professionals.

And I’m saying, I’m with you, Ray, and I applaud you for your stance and your approach, I’m just saying it was my personal post, the comment that was posted on my behalf, it dealt in absolutes, and it’s not how I personally choose to get the message [out].

I am with the campaign. I have cancelled my tour now three times. My last gig was in December of 2019 in Amsterdam. I, more than anyone, want this to get going. I’m just saying, me personally, I want to consider the make-up artists who I personally know who has a very serious disease who can’t work unless she gets the jab, and they’re humans. We can deliver this message with still not lumping them into the anti-vax conversation. I think that’s fair to say.

RH: Well who posted it on your behalf if you had no knowledge of it? Who put it up under your name?

GS: Well it was my team, and under normal circumstances I post everything and there’s an approval process, but this went up while I was playing Monopoly with my kids, and my wife made me aware of it.

And I was mortified that there was words that were said in that way. So it’s not a blanket statement of the campaign. It’s how I worded it, that I just wanted to make sure that I was including people who, mate, we’ve all got people who are personal to us and we don’t want to hurt ‘em.

RH:… Okay, the message here is to me, okay, there is three types of people, Guy.

There’s those who want to get out of the pandemic, and I have many people I cherish in the entertainment industry who haven’t got a coin in the last two years, and I want them to get some income. So they’re the people I want to help, and that’s why I’m pro-vaccination in every circumstance, and that’s why I keep saying ‘Check with your GP to make sure you don’t fall into a category where you might be in some danger’.

Second thing, there are people who are anti-COVID-vaccination.

And thirdly there are people who are anti-vax-anything, whether it’s polio, typhoid, smallpox or anything else.

Now, you’ve got to make a choice, Guy, which one of those three do you want to be?

GS: As you read, I literally said ‘Stick that thing in me as soon as it comes out’…

RH:… In your neck, I think…

GS:… I’m, I’m very vocal about the fact that, personally, I asked my doctor. She said ‘It’s fine for you’. I did that. But for me to make a blanket statement that does not include people that – not everything’s black and white with this and all it’s done is separate us, Ray.

Like there’s commentary that we can have in a sensible, loving way that doesn’t separate those people that have legitimate reasons – I am absolutely for getting on the road, for everyone getting back to work, and I’ve personally supported people within my own team throughout this whole thing.

I’m devastated, but we’re on the same side, Ray….

RH: Well may I make a suggestion with all due respect to you? Go back to the audio file that you put in, and make it specifically refer to people with medical conditions that prevent them getting vaccinated, and perhaps that will get a lot of people off your back, including Ben Lee who said ‘To be honest, this is actually a really sad example of what happens when your career is dependant on trying to be all things to all people’, and others who have criticised you. If you qualify that…

GS: … Ray, it is, unfortunately, as you know, with anything in public life, you say one thing, someone will interpret it a completely different way, and then the lump on starts. So Ben’s a beautiful guy. I’ve met him and I respect him, but he’s only weighing in on a narrative that’s already been set, that wasn’t the correct narrative…

RH: Well you can correct that by going back to the audio file and changing it, so that the narrative does change. It’s your words, not mine.

GS: Yea, but, no I don’t think it is. I think it’s just, I know who I am, and I know my heart in that video, and I said quite clearly there are people who have other circumstances they need to consider. I don’t think I need to clarify myself….

RH: …Well, I think you do.

Anyway, okay, I’ve given you the opportunity. Thanks for your time, Guy Sebastian. I still think you’re wrong.