CAIRO – In a victory for diversity in Australia, channel 10 Waleed Aly has won the TV Week Gold Logie for most popular personality on Australian television, dedicating the award to people “with unpronounceable names like Waleed”.
“Do not adjust your sets … there’s nothing wrong with the picture,” the newcomer to television told the audience at the Palladium Ballroom, Crown Towers, in Melbourne, The Guardian reported.
“I’m sure there’s an Instagram filter you can use to return things to normal.”
Aly, who joined the Channel 10 panel show last year and immediately made his mark with hard-hitting editorials about asylum seekers and terrorism, said the award mattered because people with names like Mustafa and Dimitri had struggled to find jobs in an industry dominated by white faces.
Addressed the controversy surrounding the diverse nominees, Ali dedicated his acceptance speech to a TV personality named Mustafa who feared using his real name because he ‘wouldn’t get a job’.
He said his win mattered to people like Mustafa and thanked people from different backgrounds for their support.
“I really just want to say one thing and it’s that I am incredibly humbled that you would even think to invest in me that way,” Aly said.
The former academic turned radio broadcaster and popular writer was also awarded the Silver Logie for Best Presenter.
He praised his Project co-host Carrie Bickmore who won last year, SBS News veteran Lee Lin Chin, ABC actor Essie Davis, game show host Grant Denyer and The Block host Scott Cam.
“Each nominee brilliantly distills some separate piece of Australia and I think it’s an amazing thing that that can be assembled on this night in this way,” Aly said.
“If you step back and look at those pieces assembled, it is a truly spectacular mosaic.”
Aly’s nomination, however, prompted News Corp publications to run a bizarre column titled “Six reasons why Waleed Aly should not win Gold”.
The post seemed to cement his popularity.
“There is a statement being made by the audience when that happens, and that’s incredibly flattering,” he said. “Because I never honestly thought of myself as really ever being in the conversation.
“It’s a real surprise, because I’ve always kind of assumed Logies were for other people.
“It’s an extraordinary sense of validation that you get. Because when you walk into a job like this, there is so much scope for doing badly and there is so much scope for being rejected by an audience that has grown attached to what the show was before you got there.”