The Age editor apologises for ‘racist’ cartoon with Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner review
The new editor of one of Australia’s leading newspapers was forced to publish a humiliating apology on his first day in office after a controversial and offensive cartoon sparked widespread outrage.
Melbourne-based newspaper The Age caused a stir on social media after a cartoon depicting two black women performing on stage was published in The Sunday Age over the weekend.
The cartoon appeared alongside art editor Elizabeth Flux’s scathing article on the internationally acclaimed play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner.
She wrote that the masthead would not review the play, claiming that its Australian producers, Amylia Harris and Leila Enright, requested that the reviewers be “people of colour”.
He also accused the couple of ‘tokenism’ for refusing to provide free tickets to white critics.
Within hours of Patrick Elligett starting his new role as editor of The Age, an ‘unreserved’ apology was posted on the headline Twitter page on Monday night and again in the print edition on Tuesday.
The Age has issued an unreserved online and print apology for the ‘offensive’ cartoon
‘The Age accepts that the cartoon, in its portrayal of people of colour, was offensive. The Age apologizes unreservedly and withdraws its publication,” the apology reads.
The headline added that Ms. Flux was unaware of the cartoon before it was published and was not involved in getting it off the ground.
“We stand by the decision to publish Flux’s opinion and remain committed to publishing commentary and reporting on issues of race and identity within the arts. The Age condemns the abuse directed at Flux on social media,” Elligett said.
Elligett’s promotion as editor of The Age was announced a fortnight ago after Gay Alcorn recently resigned to care for her ailing husband.
Ms Flux, a Hong Kong-born, Australian-raised Eurasian who has been a masthead art editor for six months, retweeted her employer’s online apology late Monday.
The cartoon featured two women performing on stage in front of theatergoers, including a ‘Solo PoC’ critic.
It was illustrated by The Age cartoonist Joe Benke, who insisted that he “obviously never intended” to offend the artists.
The Age’s art editor Elizabeth Flux (pictured) had no part in the cartoon that accompanied her scathing piece.
She added that she had drawn them from a photograph of the women acting in the production, and admitted that it was “difficult to illustrate people of color without getting into trouble.”
“I guess next time I’ll have to draw them as silhouettes or something,” Mr. Benke said. the aussie.
The cartoon no longer appears in the online library of previous print editions of The Age, and has been removed from the edition on the State Library of Victoria website.
It comes after it sparked widespread outrage led by community theater group Stage a Change, which described the cartoon as “abhorrent” and “absolutely disgusting”.
“Frankly speaking, this item is so brittlely submerged, splashed and washed up,” the group said.
‘Fragility that has missed the point and magnified so epically.
“The caricatures of these two actors should not have been used in this way.”
Backlash erupted when Patrick Elligett (pictured) began his new role as editor of The Age.
Other art and theater lovers jumped on the backlash bandwagon.
‘The cartoon that was placed next to the article in the print edition changes the conversation dramatically. As a theater critic, this cartoon actually makes me feel sick and powerless in this white dominated industry,” wrote one woman.
Another added: “The editorial decision to publish this cartoon with this ridiculous article that ultimately highlights the fact that Age couldn’t find a single PoC to review a work that they admit has a specific purpose of promoting woc is insane.”
But not everyone was offended by the cartoon.
‘I’m sorry but what? Weren’t the producers of this play the ones who banned ‘white’ journalists? If THAT isn’t racist, then I don’t know what is. I can’t see anything wrong with the cartoon, and I can’t stand people apologizing just to appease society’s waking (and racist) side,’ one man tweeted.
Rival Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight, who sparked global outrage in 2018 for his illustration of tennis star Serena Williams’ infamous US Open tantrum, also jumped to Benke’s defense and criticized The Age for backing down.
“Poor old Joe Benke, he’s been hung out to dry just for doing his job,” Mr Knight told The Australian.
He has drawn two people as he has seen them, and The Age has recoiled at the first breath of outrage. ‘
The Age published a cartoon depicting the two lead actors from Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Iolanthe and Chika Ikogwe (pictured)