Qantas apologizes for rugby fan photo

SYDNEY Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:23am EDT

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian national airline Qantas apologized for posting a picture of two rugby fans wearing Afro wigs and with their faces and arms painted black at an international rugby game after it sparked online outrage.

The photo, briefly run on the Qantas Twitter site, was the result of a competition asking Australian fans to tell how they would show their support for the team and depicted two fans impersonating Fiji-born Australian team player Radike Samo at a Saturday night international game.

"We apologize that the photo of two Radike fans offended some of our followers," Qantas said in a statement.

"We've spoken with Radike and whilst he is not offended we decided to remove the image."

The Twitter community was divided, but many were angered.

"What that image represents to most people is appalling," said one commenter.

Others said the whole issue had been blown out of proportion.

"What is all the fuss about? See things in context not offensive. Good Aussie fun," tweeted another.

Radike, who is a loose forward, said he didn't have any problems with the costumes.

"I don't know what the fuss is all about. These guys were paying me a tribute," he said.

"I was glad to be in a photo with them, so I don't know why anyone is getting worked up. That (sort of reaction) is just silly."

Neighboring New Zealand is set to host the Rugby World Cup from September 9 but Australia beat New Zealand 25-20 in Brisbane Saturday night to win the Tri-Nations title, raising pressure on the two long-term rivals.

(Reporting by Pauline Askin; editing by Elaine Lies)

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Comments (9)
JamVee wrote:
Honestly, it is a shame that our reactions to something funny has to be stifled for the sake of Political Correctness.

Aug 29, 2011 1:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
woofda9 wrote:
The thought control police have effectively destroyed free speech. There is no humor that is permissible. You will be silenced. Your media will tell you how to feel and what is funny. You are stupid and mean spirited and should not be allowed to speak because your every thought and word offends someone (real or not).
Fascism comes in groupspeak, groupthought.
Death to the individual.
All hail the mindless masses!
Down with free thought!
Free speech is verbotten!
Get the picture? When did it become the rule to say nothing if it MIGHT offend one person? When did we become so sensitive to every little nuance, intentional or not?
And why is it acceptable for some to be offensive (watch the show Boondocks and see how many times the ‘n’ word is used).
Some of us obviously have more rights to be politically incorrect than others. If a word, action or thought is offensive to one, must all be offended?
“Some pigs are more equal than others”
Orwell would not be permitted to publish his book today–a sad comment on what a lie “progressive” is.

Aug 29, 2011 2:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WRL wrote:
Qantas wants to sell tickets and annoying PC-sensitive people can cost them customers, so they apologize and try to make amends. This is just a company doing its best avoid offending potential customers, not a free speech issue. Relax, people.

Aug 29, 2011 3:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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