A cartoon in Monday’s The Australian has been labelled as “racist” and “xenophobic” after it depicted a black protestor leaning his knee into the Statue Of Liberty’s neck, which responds “I can’t breathe”.
The John Spooner illustration is a play on the police officer who held down George Floyd in a similar manner leading to his death – later deemed a homicide – and has led to widespread race riots in the US.
It also has the masked protestor saying: “I am fighting for the right to do what I hate.”
B&T has reached out to the News-owned The Australian for comment and clarification of the cartoon but had not received a reply by publication.
Comic Pauline Pantsdown was the first to call out the cartoon, tweeting: “I know it’s compulsory for recent cartoonists from @australian to take a swandive off the Bill Leak memorial racist balcony, but it seems they’ve started injecting bleach into their brains now.”
Pantsdown’s comments follow a number of complaints about the racial overtone of many of Leak’s – who died suddenly in 2017 – cartoons that appeared in The Oz.
Others tweeting that they had complained about the cartoon to the Australian Press Council.
Check out some of the social media backlash below: