Rupert Murdoch’s company News Corp will not be allowed to participate in Melbourne Pride after running a cartoon depicting LGBT activists as Nazis.
The controversial image was illustrated by cartoonist Bill Leak and features a row of Nazi-like soldiers marching in goose step while wearing rainbow-colored uniforms. Underneath the image reads “Waffen – SSM,” a direct reference to Hitler’s army.
The graphic was published earlier this year as Australia stood divided on the matter of same-sex marriage. Understandably, many within the LGBT community found the comparison between Nazi militants and marriage equality activists offensive and absurd.
Backlash arose when Jewish LGBT group Aleph Melbourne announced it would not participate in Midsumma, Melbourne’s LGBT Pride festival, if News Corp continued to be a sponsor.
— Aleph Melbourne (@alephmelbourne) November 25, 2016
Though Midsumma planned to go ahead with the partnership, they recently decided to back Aleph Melbourne and sever ties with News Corp.
“We are…now acutely aware that continued community concerns are threatening to fracture our communities in potentially destructive ways,” a statement from the organization read.
“We are still facing heartbreaking pressure about the issue, through a multitude of public and private channels.”
A News Corp Australia spokesperson told BuzzFeed that while the company has been “delighted” to work with Midsumma in the past, it understands and respects the festival’s decision
“News Corp constantly reviews its sponsorship arrangements and the decision by any event to cease, change or reframe its sponsorship priorities would not necessarily preclude us from seeking to partner with that event, or a similar event, in future,” the spokesperson said.
“Our partnerships, like our content, reflect the multitude of people and personalities, views and opinions on offer throughout our state,” they concluded. “On any given day, readers will see a wide range of views in our newspapers and websites.”
In spite of more than two-thirds of Australians supporting marriage equality, a bill was voted down by parliament this past November that would have allowed for a national vote on the issue.
h/t: Gay Star News