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This New Australian Lamb Ad Is Making A Lot Of People Uncomfortable

"The lamb ad is missing that small part where the tall ships arrived and began killing Aboriginal people."

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Yesterday a new lamb advert was released.

View this video on YouTube

An early draft version of the script - leaked to BuzzFeed News in December - upset some Aboriginal actors who had seen the draft, due to lines they saw as an "offensive" portrayal of white settlement in Australia.

The new version of the ad removed references to Australia Day, as well as cutting a scene that mocked former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations.

In the advertisement, people arrive on Australian shores by boat from countries including the Netherlands and the UK. They then settle down for a barbecue and party with Indigenous Australians.

The decision to stick with the ad's theme of colonisation left many in the Indigenous community angry. Writer and actor Nakkiah Lui took to both Facebook and Twitter to explain her frustrations.

"It's an ad and I wonder how people would respond to the ad if it started with a more accurate portrayal of the arrival of the Tall Ships," she wrote. "An arrival that started with the mass massacre of the Aboriginal people, an arrival that resulted in years of government enforced genocide, segregation and oppression; would the end of that ad still result in a celebration and a bbq? Would that ad still make you want to buy lamb then?"

The lamb ad is missing that small part where the Tall Ships arrived and began killing the Aboriginal people #InvasionDay #ChangetheDate


Ryan Griffen, director of the ABC's critically acclaimed drama Cleverman, also tweeted his frustration.

An ad about lamb isn't going to bring us together because you didn't mention 'that' day.

Prominent Aboriginal journalist Amy McQuire said the ad "sidelined the invasion".

Wow what a way to sideline the invasion, massacres and theft that January 26th symbolises

And Ken Canning, a Murri activist, writer, and poet, wrote about how the representation of settlement as a picnic was not accurate at all.

The ad drew criticism across Australia, with many on Twitter echoing the frustration.

so uh, who else thinks the lamb ad is Not Good Actually


We never joke or gloss over Gallipoli, WW2, Sept11, Bali bombings but the genocide of Aboriginal peoples is ok in new #ausday lamb ad

Ads for lamb needn't be a beacon of aspirational race relations and progressive values, but in this case it is. And that's the problem.

If you’re going to be preachy in an ad, be funny. This isn’t.


Genuinely confused as to how people can't see that "Australia Day" lamb ad is offensive.

If you really want to see how inclusive Australia is, don't watch the MLA lamb ad, read the comments. #AustraliaDay #Diversity #Shameful

However there were some who enjoyed the ad, believing it to be a great representation of Australia.

I love the new lamb ad for #Australiaday really pushing the boundaries but a good theme, very relevant & alot of fun.

I love the new Aussie Lamb ad! I don't eat it or anything that has ever had a pulse (!) but it's a good ad #Lamb #Australia #inclusion


Man, anyone offended by the new lamb ad needs to remove themselves from society. It couldn't be more inclusive.

And some just wondered why lamb even needed an advert.

I mean I like lamb I eat lamb a lot, I already know that it's tasty, who is the target demo for an ad for lamb

For what it's worth, the advert's director Paul Middleditch told media news website Mumbrella that creating the campaign was among the proudest moments in his life.

“Something I related it to, is if you imagine having a BBQ in the backyard and all these boats and everything come in, it’s almost like a driveway," he said.

"Ultimately it took all that serious intent and made something that’s ultimately a very mature view of the Australia we live in now and a very respectful one."

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at

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