New York Times backlash over 'shameful' Jack Charles obituary

New York Times is slammed over ‘shameful’ obituary of legendary Aboriginal actor Jack Charles that highlighted his life of drugs and crime

  • The New York Times was slammed for its ‘shameful’ obituary of Jack Charles
  • In a tribute post highlighted his ‘heroin addiction’ and ‘penchant for burglary’
  • Social media users said the post was ‘shameful’ and ‘racial profiling’
  • The Twitter post has since been removed and replaced with a new tribute post
  • The New York Times has been accused of racism over an obituary of a beloved Aboriginal actor that some Australians described as ‘shameful’. 

    The publication’s Twitter post about Jack Charles’ death said he ‘was one of Australia’s leading Indigenous actors, but his heroin addiction and penchant for burglary landed him in and out of jail throughout his life’.

    Furious social media users claimed the post, which has since been removed, was offensive and an example of ‘racial profiling’.

    The New York Times has been slammed for an obituary of a beloved Aboriginal star Jack Charles (pictured) that dubbed by Australian's as 'shameful'

    The New York Times has been slammed for an obituary of a beloved Aboriginal star Jack Charles (pictured) that dubbed by Australian’s as ‘shameful’

    Furious social media users claimed the post was offensive and 'racial profiling'

    Furious social media users claimed the post was offensive and ‘racial profiling’ 

    ‘No, we are not doing this. He was a leading actor and activist. This isn’t presenting a complex person, it’s straight up racial profiling,’ one user wrote.

    ‘Wow. This is … one of the worst ways I’ve seen his story told. Shame on you,’ said another.

    ‘How to say “we’re a tone deaf racist publication” without saying “we’re a tone deaf racist publication”,’ commented a third. 

    The original post was later deleted and replaced with a tweet remembering Charles as ‘one of Australia’s leading Indigenous actors and activists’. 

    The original post has since been removed and replaced with a tweet remembering Charles as 'one of Australia's leading Indigenous actors and activists'

    The original post has since been removed and replaced with a tweet remembering Charles as ‘one of Australia’s leading Indigenous actors and activists’

    The Indigenous actor died of a stroke on September 13 aged 79.

    The senior elder of the Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta passed away at Royal Hospital of Melbourne, surrounded by close friends and family.   

    In a statement, his family said ‘he will live on in our hearts and memories through his numerous screen and stage roles’.

    The Aboriginal icon was named NAIDOC male Elder of the year in 2022.

    Senator Lidia Thorpe posted to social media that the Aboriginal community had ‘lost our King’. 

    The Indigenous actor died of a stroke on September 13 aged 79. The Indigenous icon was named NAIDOC male Elder of the year in 2022

    The Indigenous actor died of a stroke on September 13 aged 79. The Indigenous icon was named NAIDOC male Elder of the year in 2022

    Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to Twitter to say: ‘Jack Charles lived a hard life and he leaves a joyous legacy. He endured cruelty, he knew pain.

    ‘He survived every turn of the vicious cycle, holding on to his humanity. Jack Charles uplifted our nation with his heart, his genius, his creativity and passion.’

    Charles was taken from his mother as an infant, raised at the Salvation Army Boys’ Home in Melbourne’s Box Hill – where he was the only Aboriginal child.

    He was raised as a Christian and remained religious until his death. 

    The Aboriginal actor spent decades in and out of prison and battled a serious addiction. 

    He said his struggles with addiction and the law was a reaction to childhood trauma, such as being taken from his mother as an infant and experiencing both physical and sexual abuse while growing up in an orphanage. 

    Yet Charles managed to get clean in 2008, turning a new leaf in his career at the same time as a documentary about him, Bastardy, was released.

    Anthony Albanese took to Twitter to say: 'Jack Charles lived a hard life and he leaves a joyous legacy. He endured cruelty, he knew pain'

    Anthony Albanese took to Twitter to say: ‘Jack Charles lived a hard life and he leaves a joyous legacy. He endured cruelty, he knew pain’

    The Stolen Generations survivor starred in several ABC and SBS television programs including Cleverman, Wolf Creek and Who Do You Think You Are? – the latter of which he discovered the identity of his father.

    Charles revealed in his Jack Charles vs The Crown show in London he struggled with a drug addiction as a child and often turned to petty crime as a result. 

    He then used his story to influence government legislation and create platforms for other Aboriginals to open up about their past.

    Charles also worked alongside the late Uncle Archie Roach to support current and former Indigenous inmates.

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