Staff at Australia’s only LGBT radio station were evacuated Tuesday night after a bomb threat was emailed to station officials.
JOY 94.9 managed to stay on air while the building was evacuated and cleared by Melbourne police.
Once normal operations resumed, station President Jed Gilbert addressed listeners on-air with a defiant message explaining that the station would not be silenced in the face of violent threats.
“JOY will continue to remain open, producing radio, and welcoming volunteers who are passionate about our purpose and values,” read a statement the station released.
— JOY 94.9 (@JOY949) September 21, 2016
JOY 94.9 CEO Tennille Moisel told listeners that the threat was “more of a general threat, definitely towards the community,” and had no direct connection to the program that was airing at the time the threat was receieved— a discussion about gender fluidity.
Gilbert said the threat was an indication of how contentious the country’s current debate over same-sex marriage, and whether it should be legalized by law or plebiscite, has become.
“I think our community can take solace in the fact that the majority of Australians are with us,” Gilbert said about the amount of support the station received after the threat. “They’re not going to stand this type of attack on what’s really the Australian way of life.”
Moisel added: “Parliament can do its job and represent the views of the vast majority of Australians to legislate for marriage equality now, without the need for a plebiscite and the risks it will create for our station and our communities.”