Prominent Australian Aboriginal actor Jack Charles was shockingly refused a taxi ride unless he paid the fare upfront, right after being named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year in Melbourne.
The 72-year-old, affectionally known as Uncle Jack, was leaving the awards ceremony in Docklands when his manager Patrice Capogreco tried to hail a cab for the pair about 9pm on Wednesday night.
Ms Capogreco posted about the incident on her Facebook page and explained that the pair tried hailing a cab near the taxi rank, but none of them would stop for them.
"We saw one ahead and Uncle Jack told me to run up and grab it. He said 'You go grab it mate, you know what cabbies are like with Aboriginals'," Ms Capogreco said.
The driver stopped to ask them where they were going, Ms Capogreco said that she needed to get out first and then Uncle Jack would be getting out last, the pair even took a happy selfie before the conversation with the cab driver continued.
Ms Capogreco said: "I heard Uncle Jack proudly telling the driver about his award, but the driver ignored him and then turned around to me and said 'You need to prepay'. I asked why and he replied 'Because he might not pay'."
Ms Capogreco replied to the driver that the policy was 'ridiculous' and that they would find another cab.
They explained to the new driver what had just happened and Ms Capogreco wrote in the Facebook post that the new driver said 'there is a law that allows drivers to ask Aboriginals to prepay their taxi rides'.
Mr Charles told Fairfax media that he would be writing a formal letter of complaint to the Taxi Services Commission about the incident and that he told the driver 'he just racially vilified me'.
The veteran actor's career spans more than 50 years.
He co-founded Australia's first Indigenous theatre group and has starred in films across the decades including The Chant Of Jimmy Blacksmith, Blackfellas and Pan and plays that have toured the globe.
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