A comic negatively portraying an Aboriginal father and son has been slammed as ‘racist’, prompting a flood of heartfelt photographs of indigenous dads determined to prove the depiction wrong.
The illustration by controversial cartoonist Bill Leak was published in The Australian on Thursday, and surrounds the recent Don Dale juvenile detention centre scandal in the Northern Territory.
In the drawing, a guard holds an indigenous youth by his collar while the child’s dad holds a can of beer and questions what his son’s name is.
Unhappy with the representation of their culture, dozens of indigenous families have hit back at Mr Leak’s comic, sharing loving family scenes - with no alcohol in sight.
Young Australian actor Hunter Page-Lochard posted a photo of his dad, award winning choreographer and director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre Stephen Page.
“This is my indigenous dad… And no, that’s not a beer in his hand, it’s a Helpmann award,” he wrote.
The hashtag #IndigenousDads has started a movement on social media, encouraging others to promote a positive family image.
Another woman posted a photo with her dad, adding: “He knows my name FYI,” a quip directed towards the newspaper.
An image of a father and son wearing matching jerseys hand-in-hand and a photo of a father reading to his son were among the dozens of contributions posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Mr Leaks publically defended his drawings on Friday, saying the critics were “sanctimonious Tweety Birds having a tantrum”.
He maintains he was trying to raise awareness of living conditions in some Aboriginal communities.
“I was trying to say that if you think things are pretty crook for the children locked up in the Northern Territory's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, you should have a look at the homes they came from,” he said.
The hashtag was a trending topic in Australia on Sunday, after the powerful response from the public.