Hawzah News Agency (London, UK) – United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell was invited onto the 24-hour news channel as a guest of former Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles for a one-on-one studio interview.
Within hours of the interview, Sky News issued an apology on social media and deleted the video on its online platforms, sparking an accusation from Cottrell the network had 'caved to Leftist abuse'.
The man who interviewed Cottrell, Adam Giles, was the first head of government in Australia to have Indigenous Australian ancestry.
Cottrell has made comments in the past describing First Nations people as primitive.
"If Aboriginal culture was just 24 hours old, white people colonised & created Australian civilisation in 5 minutes," he wrote online earlier this year.
Cottrell was also found guilty of inciting serious contempt of Muslims in September 2017 after staging a mock beheading in protest at plans to build a mosque in Bendigo.
His appeal against that decision was vacated last month and Cottrell will attempt to take the matter to the High Court with a 'free speech' defence.
Politicians and pundits had joined a chorus of outrage on social media after the interview, with many slamming Sky News channel for giving a platform to the divisive figure.
Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge called on all politicians "who care about decency" to boycott Sky News until it issued a full apology.
"I will refuse all offers to go on Sky until it gives a full apology and clear commitment to never again air this man’s hateful views," he said.
ABC satirical news host Charlie Pickering took to Twitter to suggest Sky News staff examine their own pride.
"I have enough national pride to remember that my grandfather fought Nazis in the desert in Tobruk," he wrote on Twitter.
"You invite them on and give them air time. Maybe call a staff meeting and talk about national pride."
Federal Labor MP Tim Watts was among those who took issue with Cottrell being described as "an activist" on the program.
"Why is a man who has said he wants to see a portrait of Adolf Hitler hung in Australian classrooms and for copies of Mein Kampf to be "issued annually" to students being given a platform on [Sky News]," he wrote on social media.
Writer Benjamin Law has also called on airlines Virgin and Qantas to stop playing Sky News in their passenger lounges after Cottrell's appearance saying: 'Your customers shouldn’t have to watch this.'
As the backlash escalated, Sky's news director Greg Byrnes issued an apology on Twitter about 9.45pm on Sunday night.
"It was wrong to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News Australia," he wrote.
"His views do not reflect ours. The interview has been removed from repeat timeslots and online platforms."