Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gold Coast Suns, AFL Forced To Apologize For Blackface Act

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Two players from the Gold Coast Suns and AFL Headquarters were forced to issue embarrassing apologies following allegations that players turned black for mocking an African-born teammate at a function of ‘team.

The Herald sun revealed two photographs showing then-teammates Leigh Osborne and Alex Sexton wearing blackface at a club celebration in 2013.

Former Gold Coast player Joel Wilkinson released the documents to the publication – claiming the issue was not dealt with properly in an Australian Human Rights Commission case between 2018 and 2019. Wilkinson, of Nigerian descent, said he also received a letter. lawyers from the league disputing the complaint.

During the wacky Wednesday celebrations hosted by the Suns, Osborne and Sexton went out of their way to make fun of Wilkinson and his Indigenous teammate Tim Sumner. Sexton and Osborne both painted their faces black, although Wilkinson warned Osborne not to “laugh at me” as he mimicked him.

Osborne showed up at the event in Wilkinson’s sweater, protruding white suspenders and tights with Wilkinson’s name and the word protein written in black ink on it.

“When I arrived I saw him with another teammate in black paint, I was mortified and so angry that I couldn’t believe he had come with black paint. The only people who showed some remorse were the native players on the team, ”Wilkinson mentioned.

“I tried to stop him during the event, I thought when we got back from the event they would be held accountable by the club, the Gold Coast Suns, but nothing happened to my dismay.

“It was really a portrayal of my entire career in the AFL and how they never cared or put the systems in place to protect my well-being from racism.”

Wilkinson said he reported it at the time but no action was taken. In fact, Wilkinson received a legal letter from the AFL, during the commission case, targeting him for celebrating his African culture rather than responding to his allegations of institutional racism in the league, he said. declared.

“And no one did anything about it or the other incidents, the photo was still online until the end of last year and available to everyone on social media,” he said.

Wilkinson filed a lawsuit in May 2018 against the AFL, the Gold Coast, six other AFL teams and four others for racial discrimination, sexual abuse aggravated by race and religious defamation, according to the Herald Sun.

Lawyer Peter Gordon had been invited by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan to represent the league and clubs.

Gordon sent an email targeting Wilkinson and his lawyers for cropping – celebrating his African culture – from the image presented to the commission.

He noted Wilkinson’s appearance as “shirtless, with body paint applied, wearing a grass skirt, headgear, and collar, and wearing what appears to be a drum instrument”.

Wilkinson said he cut himself off from the photo because he wanted to highlight the blackface players. He said he didn’t feel the need to be in the photo because he was dressed to celebrate his legacy.

McGuire apologizes

The AFL responded to the allegations on Friday by apologizing for the situation.

“The AFL is clear that any use of blackface is never acceptable in any forum or at any time. While the AFL was not aware of the 2013 blackface end-of-season incident until 2018, Shortly before Joel details the incident in his complaint to the Commission on Human Rights, one thing that is clear is that the behavior is bad and is behavior we would never accept or tolerate, ”he said. the AFL said in a statement Friday.

“Again, we understand the impact this had on Joel. We’re sorry that this happened, and it shouldn’t have.”

A statement from the Suns said Sexton was sorry for his actions.

“The Suns regard the choice of outfits in the photo and on that day as inappropriate, unacceptable and regrettable,” the statement said.


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