AussieBum chief takes 'AusDay' briefs off market after claims design is culturally insensitive
AussieBum's chief executive Sean Ashby has taken the underwear label's 'AusDay' hipster and brief designs off the market after several complaints.
The Australia Day underwear, which featured dot paintings, boomerangs and a stereotypical cartoon depiction of an Indigenous person, was branded racist and culturally insensitive and attracted several complaints.
Leading the charge was National Indigenous Television host Nathan Appo, who tweeted: "I think it's disrespectful to indigenous people of this county on so many levels."
Ashby said the company had received three formal complaints via email, the first of which he acted on, recalling an original design that featured the Australian flag on top of what looked like Uluru.
"It wasn't even Uluru, it was a mountain, however, I can also see it could be interpreted that way," Ashby told the ABC.
"I saw [the design] as inclusive but then when I had one person email me and point out some really obvious issues, which quite frankly I was naive to ... the penny dropped and that product was taken straight off the line."
One email of complaint AussieBum received read:
"I find the 'Ausday' hipster and brief designs very offensive to myself and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians (many on social media already), and to all Australians, given there is a stylised, stereotypical and offensive version of an Aboriginal person standing on one leg.
"Along with the imagery of Uluru and boomerangs accompanying this image in the promotional material for this design, this amounts to cultural appropriation and racism, rather than celebration or respect for Aboriginal peoples and their cultures."
"At the end of the day it really was just naivety to an issue in Australian culture and one that is so sensitive," Mr Ashby continued. "Unfortunately as we evolve as a culture we are in a multicultural society and sadly, Indigenous culture is now considered a separate culture to our own. I'm just realising how sensitive it is.
"I don't want to be a person that will add to that debate. I feel I've brought a subject out that I wish wasn't there."