Magda Szubanski hits back after critics resurfaced a photo of her in blackface
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Featured Image Credit: Michael Bradley/Getty Images for New Zealand Film Commission. Seven Network
Comedian Magda Szubanski has responded to criticism over doing blackface years ago.
The Kath and Kim actor has been slammed over resurfaced images of her donning blackface following her support for Indigenous netballer Donnell Wallam.
The Diamonds player became the centre of the $15 million sponsorship row with Gina Rinehart and mining giant Hancock Prospecting.
Wallam said that she was uncomfortable wearing the Hancock logo on the Australian Diamond dress, as the company’s former boss Lang Hancock once said Aboriginal people should be sterilized to ‘breed themselves out’ four decades ago.
Following Wallam’s remarks, Hancock Prospecting executive chair Gina Rinehart backed out of the deal, sparking a financial crisis for Netball Australia.
Hancock Prospecting issued a statement following the incident.
"Hancock and its Executive Chairman Mrs Rinehart, consider that it is unnecessary for sports organisations to be used for social or political causes," the statement said.
“There are more targeted and genuine ways to progress social or political causes without virtue signalling or for self-publicity.”
Wallam was subsequently dropped from the Australian team.
However, Szubanski has come out and fiercely defended the Indigenous player, noting that Lang Hancock went beyond ‘plain racism’.
“Lang Hancock went waaaay beyond plain racism. He suggested STERILIZING a race of people So it’s not virtue signalling – it’s survival!” the actor tweeted.
“Imagine then being asked to wear his name on your back just so you can get funding for your sport #IStandWithDonnellWallam.”
But many were quick to point out that the comedian had her own controversial past after one user posted a photo from her early sketch comedy days in the '90s.
The photo shows Szubanski in blackface, with the caption: “Magda you probably should keep out of discussions on racism.”
The 62-year-old defended herself by saying: “I’ve spent the 25 years since then listening and learning. And apologizing.”
The actor also shared a link to her 2019 interview with the Huffington Post, where she discussed the incident.
“We didn’t know, and that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook,” Szubanski explained to the outlet at the time.
“You can’t just stop doing it because it’s ‘politically incorrect’ to do it.
"You have to walk in the other person’s shoes and imagine how they’d feel.”
“It’s making that empathy leap. We’re all on a learning journey.”