SBS had planned to tell the stories of those that “aren’t always heard.” And it backfired tremendously.
A dozen garbage trucks blockaded SBS offices in Artarmon, Sydney today, in protest of the broadcaster’s new documentary series, Struggle Street.
The three-part series portrays the lives of nine residents of Mt Druitt in Sydney’s west — but the participants aren’t impressed by the way they have been portrayed in the final product.
Members of the Kennedy family — central characters in the series — spoke at the rally, claiming they trusted and were betrayed by the show’s producers.
Peta Kennedy says one of her 10 children suffers multiple disabilities and is concerned the show will have negative effects on her daughter.
“It’s destroyed a 19-year-old who’s got multiple disabilities. She’s almost to the point of getting a job, she’s at the point where she’s about to collapse,” she said.
“If you put yourself in my shoes every other mum would be doing exact the same thing, just standing up protecting their kids.”
Blacktown Council members and also attended the rally, calling for the program to be suspended.
According to Blacktown Mayor, Stephen Bali, the Blacktown Council garbage trucks symbolised the view that Struggle Street is “trash tv.”
— 702 ABC Sydney (@702sydney) May 6, 2015
Mamamia previously reported…
You may have heard of the new SBS show, Struggle Street. The three-part series aims to document the lives of people “doing it tough” in the western suburbs of Sydney. The show reportedly follows a number of characters in the region, including a young man with brain damage, another who works with children, and a group of garbage men.
However, the people of western Sydney are in uproar, claiming the ‘documentary’ series is little more than “publicly-funded poverty porn.” SBS has since removed that promo clip that spurred the furore from TV. But there are still clips available online.
The video starts with images of pristine beaches and bronzed bodies, but the scenes quickly change to squalid houses and police run-ins as the ominous voiceover explains, “Mr Druitt is also Sydney – just not the one in the tourist brochures.”
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“Large public housing units built for working families have become havens for the downtrodden,” the voiceover describes, while panning over red brick apartment blocks. “Sure there are battlers, and even some who manage to stay ahead of the game. But these are the stories of those struggling to hang on.”
Images continue to roll of cars doing burnouts, people pulling bongs and young men in fist fights. A woman says: “Mt Druitt is where they dump all the losers, that’s what we get told.” Despite agreeing to appear in the documentary, residents are now rising up against the production — claiming they were misled into participating in the series which misrepresents them and the community.
Peta Kennedy told Channel Nine the SBS crews filmed hours of footage of her and her family — only a certain portion of which made it to the final cut. “I’m just so gutted by it because my husband is not like that. They’ve been showing him out on the front of our house farting, putting that on national air,” she claims.
Meanwhile, two other promotion videos remain in circulation – one featuring Tristan, a young man who suffers brain damage, after he was involved in a motorcycle accident that killed his friend. Tristan now travels to schools to educate other young people about making safe choices.
Meet the faces of Struggle Street, May 6, SBS ONE.
Posted by SBS Australia on Thursday, 30 April 2015
A petition led by Blacktown City Council has called for series to be suspended.
“The release of promotional material has left many of the participants shocked, with a documentary they were told would take a positive look at their struggles instead appearing to mock, degrade, insult and exaggerate their hardships,” it claims.
The petition also claims the participants were not given copies of their release forms, were not permitted to view the footage before it aired, and that SBS included scenes the participants requested not to be aired.
“Some of the participants have already suffered abuse, insults, bullying, intimidation and other mistreatment as a result of the promotional material produced by SBS,” the petition claims.
At the time this article was published, the petition had 1,715 signatures.
What do you think about ‘Struggle Street’?