• Powerlifter Patrick Morrison was racially vilified after responding to a post by the GPC president. (Instagram )Source: Instagram
A leading powerlifting body has apologised after an 'offensive' social media post by its president led to a barrage of racist comments.
By
Brooke Fryer

Source:
NITV News
27 Jan 2021 - 5:04 PM  UPDATED 27 Jan 2021 - 5:05 PM

The Global Powerlifting Committee Australia (GPC Australia) has committed to an 'internal restructure' following an incident where the countries' top athlete was racially vilified online.

Last week, the president of GPC Australia Markos Markopoulos took to Facebook to express his opinion over the re-brand of 'Cheer' cheese. 

Mr Markopoulous condemned "spineless executives" for re-branding its name from 'C**n' to 'Cheer'.

“The cheese was named after the founder of the company. A minority group of trouble makers made a fuss and this piss weak company dropped the name. We buy 1 or 2 blocks of C**n every week. Never again.” the now deleted post read.

Mr Markopoulos has since released a personal apology saying that he never meant to hurt anyone and that he is "not a bad guy."

His apology came after Australia's number one powerlifter and Wiradjuri and Kokatha man Patrick Morrison, took to Instagram to express his frustration with Mr Markopoulos's statements.

"This post had a lot of support, which isn’t surprising given the culture of casual racism in Australia," he wrote.

"I asked Markos if he realised that his post was racist, he asked, 'Do you realise that’s your opinion'."

Mr Morrison saw an outcry of support with the Instagram post being liked by more than 900 people from both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community.

But he was also exposed to a barrage of racist abuse following his post, with one social media user photoshopping an image of the original cheese brand onto a photo of himself. 

Mr Morrison and several Australian powerlifting competitors vow to no longer compete in top-ranking events by the organisation. 

'Most sincere apology'

In a statement, GPC Australia said they were going to "be conducting an internal restructure of its organisation."

“In light of recent commentary on social media, GPC Australia wishes to express its most sincere apology and offer an opportunity to anyone offended or affected to contact us so we can discuss further," it read.

“As an organisation, we will continue to self-educate and develop all our delegates as they are ambassadors of the community first and foremost. GPC Australia will be conducting an internal restructure of its organisation. We are also recruiting new roles which we believe will help grow our sport.”

NITV News reached out to GPC Australia and Mr Markopoulos for further comment but have not yet received a response.