back to top

People Are Calling For A Cartoonist To Be Fired Over His "Racist" Drawing

"Surely it's time we erased Bill Leak."

Posted on

People have taken to social media to express outrage about a cartoon depicting an Aboriginal child being handed to a drunk Aboriginal man by a police officer.

They've slammed the drawing as racist and want the cartoonist fired.

The cartoon appeared in The Australian newspaper and was drawn by resident cartoonist Bill Leak.

It shows a young black kid being held by the neck by a police officer and handed to an Aboriginal man holding a can of beer.

The police officer tells the man, "You'll have to sit down and talk to your son about personal responsibility." The Aboriginal man, who is holding a beer, replies, "Yeah righto what's his name then?"

Advertisement

The cartoon comes after footage of Aboriginal children being mistreated in juvenile detention centres in the Northern Territory shocked the world and prompted the prime minister to initiate a royal commission.

Aboriginal children are over-represented in juvenile detention centres around in the country. In the NT they make up a staggering 96% of the juvenile detention population.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have taken to Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook to call out The Australian for publishing the cartoon and condemn Leak.

Bill Leak, #FreeSpeech which is acceptable to Liberals but dare not develop an argument against their policy or social direction. #Democracy

@australian #BillLeak's cartoon today is everything wrong with your paper and all the reasons advertisers should abandon print journalism

Bill Leak & @australian are the worst of what it is to be Australian and I'm deeply ashamed that this beautiful nation harbours such turds.

Here's how you draw a cartoon, Bill Leak. Thanks to artist Danny Eastwood. #LandRights https://t.co/jTdjaBGBaY

Advertisement

The Oz editors by publishing Bill Leak also show what they think about the value of the awesome Indig affairs work their journos often do


Seriously @australian, who in your office green lights the racist and ignorant subpar drawings of Bill Leak? Disgusting. Fire them all.

That racist cartoon by Bill Leak in The Australian would have caused outcry 30yrs ago. How it's published in major outlet now beyond belief.

imagine bill leak hunched over his drawing board muttering "if i make the cop aboriginal too, it will prove im not racist"

Advertisement

I cancelled my @australian subscription last year because of Bill Leak I wish I still had a way to let them know my rage

Surely it's time we erased Bill Leak. @australian

How DISGRACEFUL - especially on National Children's Day! https://t.co/ZorpxJhzrr

The cartoon was published on National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day.

It's not the first time Leak's cartoons have been called racist: He's published several cartoons about the Indigenous community, including ones that appear to make light of the high rates of domestic violence within the Aboriginal community.

UPDATE

Paul Whittaker, editor-in-chief of The Australian, has defended Bill Leak in a statement.

"The current controversy over juvenile detention in the Northern Territory has lifted these matters to the forefront of national attention again," Whittaker wrote.

"Too often, too many people skirt around the root causes and tough issues. But not everyone."

Whittaker went on to quote prominent Indigenous academic Marcia Langton and Cape York leader Noel Pearson as justification for publishing Leak's cartoon.

"This week on Lateline Noel Pearson said: 'Blackfellas have got to take charge and take responsibility for their own children … That part of the message really struggles to get traction'," he wrote.

"In our pages Marcia Langton said: 'Instead of talking about personal agency, these people talk about self-determination. It drowns out any message about personal agency'.”

Read the full statement here.



Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.