The West Australian newspaper is copping backlash after publishing a cartoon that refers to an Indigenous character using an offensive racial slur and compares them to a dog.
The Modesty Blaise comic, published yesterday, shows a characters discussing an Indigenous tracker who is trying to find them.
One character says they are being chased by “four men, all armed … and an Aborigine” — a term some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people find offensive.
The characters go on to describe the Indigenous character as an “abo tracker”.
“It’s no use hiding, that abo will smell us out quicker than a bloodhound,” a character says in the comic.
The publication is being blasted on social media with many labelling it “disgusting”.
“Just wondering how many people were involved in the chain of decision making, to allow this cartoon to be printed in the @westaustralian newspaper in 2020?” asked radio and television presenter Shelley Ware.
“I’m literally devastated this has been printed and our children have access to this. Honestly wish I was surprised though!!”
Late on Monday evening, The West Australian published an apology to its website stating the cartoon was written in 1981 and was supplied by an outside agency.
“Today, The West Australian newspaper ran a Modesty Blaise cartoon that contained offensive racial stereotypes that have no place in our newspaper,” the statement read.
“In fact, it’s the very kind of marginalisation and bigotry The West Australian and its reporters have been trying to stamp out.”
The West Australian said it would halt publication of the cartoon, and review its future in the paper.