We don’t usually think of The Wiggles as a site of latent controversy. The Australian children’s music group is primarily known for its impressive ability to provide indefatigable kids with songs about… well, I don’t know. Fruit salads. Hot potatoes. Doing the propeller. You get the gist. Not much to argue about here, except maybe over whether that fruit salad would really be as “yummy” as it’s advertised to be.
But in a very modern turn of events, The Wiggles recently found themselves in the spotlight for reasons other than their embellishment of how good their fruit salad is. In the past week, a clip of a song called ‘Pappadum’ — which was released in 2014 and featured in an episode of ‘Ready, Steady, Wiggle!’ called ‘Lachy’s Pappadum Party’ — went viral, and many have questions about its ethnic stereotyping.
In the clip, The Wiggles tap their then-events and marketing manager, Kimberley Stapylton, to perform a song — a song for which they’ve all dressed up in traditional Indian clothing to dance and wave around papadum, which is a thin, round North Indian flatbread (one usually used for eating, rather than expressing one’s joy.)
to be clear, this was not the representation i wanted pic.twitter.com/vNswTi0E16
— Ashmi (@_ashmip) October 22, 2020
There’s also a guest in the video: a woman, presumably of Indian descent, who dances without ever actually singing along. (Several Twitter users pointed out that her silence in the video produced an eerie atmosphere, as though she’s in a kind of “horrified trance,” but The Wiggles clarified she just wasn’t comfortable with singing.)
Is it just me or is the Indian woman gritting her teeth in horror over this? Also I expected better from the wiggles? Or is this type of racist skit typical from them? https://t.co/TYRsd4kLLv
— Rochelle Phillips (@rochephillips) October 22, 2020