A woman looks at flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester Britain May 23, 2017.
A woman looks at flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester Britain May 23, 2017. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Conservative magazine Quadrant “unreservedly apologised” on Wednesday for suggesting the Manchester blast terror attack should have happened at ABC’s Q&A headquarters instead. The apology came following ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie’s condemnation of the article.

The publication’s editor-in-chief, Keith Windschuttle, responded to Guthrie and offered an apology over the article in question. He said the article will be taken off the magazine’s website. As of the time of writing, the post is still online.

“Even though I do not share all of the interpretations expressed in your letter, I accept your assurance about the offence it caused you and your staff. You have my unreserved apology for any concerns it might have given you,” Windschuttle wrote in a letter (via The Australian).

Following the Manchester bombing on Monday night, Quadrant’s online editor Roger Franklin wrote that the terror attack should have been directed in a particular place in Sydney instead. “Life isn’t fair and death less so. Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio,” he wrote, referring to the ABC Q&A studio.

“Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.” Franklin also imagined Q&A panellist Lawrence Krauss dying from a bomb blast.

Quadrant had since reworded the article, perhaps in a bid to soften the message it wrote. “Life isn’t fair and death less so. What if the blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio?” the edited post read.

Guthrie has condemned the post, demanding for the magazine’s apology. She also took note of the amendments in the post, which were done without acknowledging or apologising for the original article.

“To take issue with our programming and our content is one thing. But to express the wish that, if there were any justice, the horrific terrorist bombing in Manchester would have taken place in the ABC’s Ultimo studio and killed assembled there is a new low in Australian public debate,” she wrote.

“Like many others, I am appalled at your willingness to turn an act of terrorism in the United Kingdom into a means of making a political point against those you disagree with. One of the immediate results of this behaviour is that while our staff both here and in Manchester were working long hours to provide extensive coverage of this unfolding tragedy, we were also forced to reassure worried staff who had read your article and call in our own security experts to assess any possible impact flowing from your inflammatory words.”

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield sided with Guthrie before an upper house hearing in Canberra on Wednesday, saying Quadrant’s post “constitutes a new low in Australian public debate.” He called the comments “sick and unhinged.”

The Manchester bombing tragedy happened Monday night just moments after American singer Ariana Grande finished her concert at the arena. Twenty-two people are confirmed dead, while 59 have been reported injured.

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