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Complainants in Hawthorn racism scandal come forward, accused hits back

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

In another twist in the Hawthorn racism allegations saga, the complainants have broken their silence.

The allegations accuse former Hawks coaches, Alastair Clarkson & Chris Fagan, along side manager Jason Burt. Among those speaking out are four-time premiership player Cyril Rioli, his wife Shannyn, player Carl Peterson, Jermaine Miller-Lewis and his wife Montanah, as well as a former staffer and Indigenous advisor Leon Egan. These revelations surfaced just days after the AFL announced the outcomes of a 'comprehensive' and 'lengthy' independent review, concluding that no adverse findings were discovered against the former coaches and manager.

The statement in part reads, "We were treated as special projects and control of our lives was taken from us." The full open letter is below.

The complainants will now take their fight to the Human Rights Commission, and speculation that it could then be taken to the high or federal courts, the whole process of the investigation by Hawthorn and the AFL described by the players and staffer as a s***show.

The scandal came to light, following an investigation by the Hawthorn Footy Club after the allegations were brought against the club's treatment. The investigation resulted in a preliminary report developed by the Hawks was then handed over to the AFL integrity unit, which from there was leaked to multiple media outlets.

Former Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett, told SEN 1116 that "once [the news report] was published, it was a firestorm."

It’s important to note that all of the 3 accused have repeatedly and vigorously denied the allegations.

Only one of the accused so far has it back following this open letter; Jason Burt, saying the complainants were seeking financial compensation and has said he will be happy to take part in any legal proceedings.

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