• The West Australian newspaper came under fire for publishing a racist comic strip in their Monday edition of the daily newspaper. (NITV)Source: NITV
The newspaper's editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie apologised for 'any hurt' caused by the racist cartoon strip while announcing that it will be dropped from future editions.
Rangi Hirini

1 Jul 2020 - 11:22 AM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2020 - 11:22 AM

The West Australian newspaper has publicly apologised following the printing of a racist slur in a cartoon strip that was published in Monday’s edition.

The slur was used to refer to an Aboriginal tracker character. 

In a statement published on the cover of the paper's Wednesday edition, editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie said the British cartoon Modesty Blaise will no longer feature in the newspaper.

“In Monday’s newspaper, The West Australian published a Modesty Blaise cartoon that contained offensive racial stereotypes and slurs we consider abhorrent. We are deeply sorry and we apologise for any hurt that cartoon has caused,” Mr De Ceglie said in the statement.

“Racism has sadly been pervasive in this country because it has been casualised for too long,” he said.

The Modesty Blaise cartoon was created in 1963. In a statement on Monday, the paper said this particular strip was written in 1981 and that the comics page had been supplied by an outside agency.  

Following the publication of the racial slur on Monday, social media lit up with outrage.

Yankunytjatjara and Wirangu woman and former NITV Presenter Shelley Ware posted the comic strip on Twitter on Monday and said her immediate reaction was disbelief.

“I did a bit of research and it turned out it was true that the West Australian newspaper had printed this comic in their paper...I was absolutely devastated,” Mrs Ware told NITV News.

"I’m devastated because as a kid that was the first section I ran to to read and I thought, our kids are reading this, and my heart broke,” she said.

Mrs Ware said her timeline exploded following her tweet with many followers gobsmacked by the cartoon. She said she has received amazing support.

“People are listening. This is the time for Aboriginal people to stand up and say and call out these things because so many people have said, ‘this isn't’ good enough’,” she said. 

In Wednesday's statement, the West Australian said it had been running the Modesty Blaise cartoon strip for 48 years, but that it no longer had a place in its pages.

A review is underway as to how the comic strip was allowed to be published.

“We have been in touch with the company that produced [the page] to express our deep concerns and have been told it too has instigated an immediate review. We have also re-established an in-house checking process to ensure this type of offensive material is not published again,” Mr De Ceglie said.

The West Australian newspaper apologises for racist comic strip
A character in a comic strip published in Monday's newspaper used a racial slur to describe an Aboriginal character.