An Australian Rules Football (AFL) club had to apologize after three of its players wore full-body blackface to impersonate Venus and Serena Williams, as well as a Kenyan-born AFL player, Aliir Aliir.
The photos were taken last week during “Mad Monday,” a celebratory day that marks the end of the AFL season. According to the Huffington Post, the photos appeared on Facebook on Thursday, and received mixed reactions. Some were outraged and others defended the “costumes.”
The players, who weren’t identified, play for the Penguin Football Club in Tasmania. The club told the Huffington Post in a written statement that officials weren’t aware players “intended to dress in this manner,” adding that the costumes were “unacceptable in this day and age.”
As the Huffington Post reports, while the players have been disciplined and have apologized for the racist costumes, the Penguin Football Club also offered a defense of the players, saying their “actions were never intended to be racist in any way” and “all they meant to do was dress as one of their sporting idols.”
While the term “black face” is highly used in the United States, racism knows no borders.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, there have been high-profile incidents of blackface in the country, but despite an increase in public shaming around the behavior, many Australians still haven’t learned their lesson.
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