Backlash over ‘disgusting’ figurines
An Australian bargain shop chain has been forced to apologise and pull a bizarre product from its shelves following a social media backlash.
A picture of the figurines depicting scantily clad indigenous Australians carrying boomerangs and didgeridoos was uploaded onto Twitter over the weekend.
It was uploaded by Luke Pearson, founder and CEO of IndigenousX - an indigenous owned and run independent online media platform.
"The perfect gift for white ppl who 'love Aboriginal culture' but would rather not interact with us in real life," he wrote alongside an image of the "Australian Aboriginal" figurines.
The perfect gift for white ppl who ‘love Aboriginal culture’ but would rather not interact with us in real life. pic.twitter.com/Af9mA7fXPR— Pearson In The Wind (@LukeLPearson) December 9, 2018
The China-made trinkets - which were being sold for just $3 each - were spotted at a Hot Bargain shop in the Lake Haven Shopping Centre on NSW's Central Coast.
It's understood similar figurines are being sold at other Aussie bargain shops and Mr Pearson claimed they were as "common as golliwogs in Australia" on Twitter.
Outraged commenters piled in on criticism of the figurines and the shop's decision to stock them.
"Holy sh*t that's racist, vile and offensive," wrote one commenter.
"I can't believe people still sell these," wrote another.
"That's even more offensive than all those cheap, Indonesian knock-offs being sold as 'authentic' indigenous art in the gift shops," added a third.
The bargain chain has now said it will immediately remove the product from its shelves following the outcry.
"We are so sorry these products make people feel offended," a spokesman for the company told news.com.au.
"We definitely will get these products off the shelf ASAP. We got them from the supplier and didn't think this would make people feel uncomfortable."
The social media storm comes just a few months after a similar backlash when three golliwog dolls won first, second and third place in the "traditional children's soft toy" section of Royal Adelaide Show.
The Facebook group Deadly Yarning from South Australian Aboriginal communities posted images of the dolls in September.
"When you go to the 2018 Royal Adelaide Show Royal Adelaide Show only to see #RacistDolls being awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the Judging," the post read.
Similarly, the dolls were removed after outrage on social media.
The Royal Adelaide Show general manager Michelle Hocking at the time: "After a strong negative public sentiment against the dolls via social media, the decision was made to remove the dolls.
"At no point was any offence intended."
Golliwog displays have repeatedly come under fire in Australia.
Last year, a Brisbane lolly shop sparked controversy for selling golliwogs, after an Aboriginal man noticed the dolls on display and complained.
"I was absolutely appalled to see these dolls on display," he said.
"These dolls do not only offend Aboriginal people such as myself, but a number of different races from all over the globe."
And in 2016, Toowoomba was dubbed the "most racist city in Australia" after a display of nine golliwog dolls appeared at a Terry White Chemist store in Clifford Gardens.