Magazine Apologises, Didn’t Realise Calling Indigenous Man “Apeish” Was Racist

Surfing Life magazine has said sorry to Indigenous Australian surfer Otis Carey after their article about him sparked outrage.

1. The March issue of Surfing Life magazine includes a story called ‘Poetry Night with Mermaid Killer’. Written by Nathan Myers, it contains a pretty shocking description of Indigenous surfer Otis Carey.

2. Myers wrote, “With his apeish face and cowering hair-curtains, I expect little more than Cro-Magnon grunts from his mouth. I am caught off guard by the clarity and eloquence of his speech.”

3. Needless to say, Carey was upset by the remarks, and a lot of people took to social media to express their outrage.

Completely speechless at the amazingly racist stupidity of @SurfingLife... shaking with ragedom right now!! #YOUSUCK

— Luke Pearson (@LukeLPearson)

Can you believe what @SurfingLife published? To paraphrase: 'Otis Carey looks like an ape, it surprised me he could do more than grunt.'

— Anthony Vela (@AnthonyVelaSUP)

8. On Wednesday, Surfing Life issued a statement on their website apologising for the story.

They say they originally read the “offending term as a jibe at the stereotypical surfer - and failed to see the racist connotations.”

They add that editor Wade Davis is of African and Indigenous heritage, and despite being sensitive to racism, is “devastated” that a “misread” allowed such a term to be published.

Interestingly, they repeatedly use the singular “term” in their apology, presumably referring to the use of the word “apeish” - apparently still missing the offensiveness in the assumption that Carey’s intelligence would be at “Cro-Magnon” levels.

9. While Carey’s family accepted the apology, they also asked Surfing Life to refrain from contacting him in the future. Many commenters on Twitter remained unimpressed with the apology.

Ashamed @SurfingLife be constructive with your apology to #OtisCarey & support oz surfers long term

— gscathcart (@sartrego)

@IndigenousX the 𠇊pology” was interesting.. "we are not racist we have a black editor from Africa, on staff".

— peter anderson (@pj_and)

Wade Davis just took the whole "some of my best friends are black" excuse to another level." Too bad his friends aren't better editors.

— Not Dane Reynolds (@Dranolds)

"I rock a black iPhone." #ASL_Relates

— Not Dane Reynolds (@Dranolds)

"Our editor, Wade Davis, takes his coffee strong and black." #ASL_Relates

— Matt (@MattInBrazil)

14. Although Carey has declined to comment publicly on the issue, he has said in the past, “I don’t give a fuck what you say about me unless it’s positive. I don’t like negative things.”

15. He describes himself: “I’m Aboriginal. Married to my best friend and love of my life, her name is Renee, she’s an incredible human.”

16. “I have a two year old son, his name is Beige, he’s also an incredible human.”

17. He adds, “I like to make dull things colourful. I like English breakfast tea of a morning and of an evening. I like getting tattooed. I like to get up before the sun rises. I like to like a lot of things, usually everything.”

18. “I also like to spend most of my time either in the ocean or with family.”

19. But somehow Surfing Life was shocked at his eloquence.

Check out more articles on!

Jenna Guillaume is Editor-at-Large for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney.
  Your Reaction?

    Starting soon, you'll only be able to post a comment on BuzzFeed using a Facebook account or via our app. If you have questions or thoughts, email us here.


    Now Buzzing