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Friday, October 9, 2009

Aussie show slammed for blackface Jackson 5 sketch

An Australian variety show has drawn international controversy for airing a sketch that featured performers imitating the Jackson 5 in blackface.

The show was a reunion episode of the long-running series "Hey Hey It's Saturday" that showcased an amateur act called the "Jackson Jive."

Guest judge Harry Connick Jr. gave the performance a "0" score and said, “If they turned up looking like that in the United States it's 'Hey Hey There's No More Show' ... If I knew that was going to be part of the show I definitely wouldn't have done it ... On behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart."

Host Darryl Somers apologized to Connick on air, then later said, “To most Australians I think it's a storm in a tea cup."

The five men who performed the skit apparently had done a similar act 20 years ago without controversy.

In the Times Online, one of the performers noted, "I am an Indian, and five of the six of us are from multicultural backgrounds and to be called a racist ... I don't think I have ever been called that ever in my life before. Anyone who knows us as a group, we are intelligent people, we are all from different racial backgrounds so I am really, truly surprised.”