Distraught residents of new documentary Struggle Street will protest outside SBS’s Sydney headquarters with a convoy of garbage trucks for the misleading and unflattering representation of their lives.
About a dozen Blacktown Council garbage trucks will blockade SBS’s Artarmon offices in Sydney on Wednesday to express their anger over the three-part show, which follows the lives of Mount Druitt residents in western Sydney.
The protest is backed by Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali, who has called the show “publicly funded poverty porn” that doesn’t reflect life in the area.
Bali has called for the show to be pulled, or at least postponed until participants are shown the series before it is aired, while more than 1500 people have signed a petition to have the show canned.
“The trucks show what we think of the show: it’s garbage,” Bali said.
He told AAP one of the participants in the show – Peta Kennedy – saw the first episode last week and was left “absolutely distraught”.
SBS however is going ahead with the broadcast on Wednesday night, despite removing a promo for the show from its website over the weekend.
The broadcaster believes the show’s stories could be found in any Australian capital or major regional town.
“Pockets of disadvantage exist in many suburbs across Australia, this pocket being just representative of one,” an SBS spokesperson said.
The promo for Struggle Street shows people smoking drugs, fighting, swearing, riding motorbikes in a local park, a man breaking wind and a woman calling a cat a “slut”.
Bali said it’s an “unethical misrepresentation”.
“It’s meant to be a documentary but in the end it’s just a trash reality TV program,” he said.
“We object that up to a million dollars of taxpayers funds have been allocated to support a documentary, when at the same time millions of dollars in social services to support these very people that the show’s attacking have been cut from the local area.”
SBS Management will attend a meeting on Tuesday afternoon at Blacktown City Council.