News Corp’s The Australian is once again under fire for publishing a cartoon many have deemed to be highly racist.
The illustration by its in-house cartoonist Johannes Leak depicts Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden announcing Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president.
The cartoon appeared in The Oz on Friday and online. It has Biden saying: “It’s time to heal a nation divided by racism.” Followed by: “So I’ll hand you over to this little brown girl while I go for a lie-down.”
Although not particularly funny, Leak said the inspiration for the cartoon came from Biden’s very own tweet. Read it below:
The illustration has been widely condemned and has even been reported on in international media including the UK and US.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd lead the outrage, going so far as to write a complaint to the Australian Press Council (APC).
In the letter, Rudd said the cartoon was “fuelling racist and sexist prejudice in our society beneath the fig leaf of press freedom”. He warned the APC not to be a “toothless tiger” and uphold his complaint.
“There is no conceivable public interest in encouraging ridicule on racial or gender grounds,” Rudd said.
However, The Oz is standing by the work. On Friday afternoon, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Christopher Dore, published a “note” in its Media section saying the cartoon had been misinterpreted. You can read Dore’s letter in full here.
Dore explained: “The intention of the commentary in the cartoon was to ridicule racism, not perpetuate it.
“In the context of Biden’s words, this is evident. Clearly some, including those without that context, have wrongly attributed Biden’s words to Johannes, and in doing so have attributed abhorrent and inaccurate motives to him.
“The Australian, and Johannes, opposes racism in all of its guises,” Dore said.
This morning, The Australian’s chief political columnist Chris Kenny also wrote a piece defending the illustration.
Titled “Leak cartoon exposes Left’s putrid duplicity over identity politics“, Kenny argued that Leak’s work was intended to “expose the brazen hypocrisy and shamelessly cynical identity politics being played by Joe Biden”.
“The vile, dishonest and viciously sanctimonious abuse being thrown Leak’s way is just the latest episode in identity politics that would make Martin Luther King Jnr turn in his grave,” Kenny penned.
However the general consensus online appears to be contrary to Dore’s and Kenny’s view. Check out just some of the backlash below:
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