Sky News Australia reporter and Daily Telegraph columnist Caroline Marcus has switched her Instagram to private, after photos of herself and husband Jake Swarts dressed as ‘Wuhan street vendors’ selling ‘two-for-one’ bats prompted immediate backlash
The photos were posted to Instagram over the weekend and were part of a Halloween costume.
Marcus posted the image onto her main account, with the caption “because what could be more terrifying in 2020 than a couple of Wuhan street vendors hawking one very edible bat?”
On her story, she also posted a picture of her child and a friends child in the costumes, both of whom PEDESTRIAN.TV has chosen not to name.
It goes without saying that the images could be viewed as being racially insensitive, but also that they perpetuated stereotypes around Chinese people and culture. After receiving a few comments pointing this fact out, Marcus swiftly made her account private.
It is important to note that even the language used in Marcus’ story is problematic.
“Sorry, but I don’t think he (the baby) was too happy about being hawked off in our two-for-one, extra good price for you Wuhan special,” she wrote on her Instagram story.
“Our baby is totally cool with it, though, so any takers?”
The stereotypes insinuated within this post are incredibly harmful to be perpetuating at a time when Australian-Chinese people are already facing discrimination and scrutinisation due to the racist rhetoric that has been spouted around the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thankfully there were a few people in the comments section of the post that brought to light how insensitive costumes like this are not acceptable.
“This is really disturbing,” one user wrote.
“I hope you’ll take a step back and consider how offensive this might be to a group of people, particularly during this time when violence is being perpetrated against people of Asian backgrounds because of views like this.
“As a journalist, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on why this is not cool.”
They then linked Anti Racism Daily as a resource that Marcus could use for educating herself.
Caroline Marcus and her friend have currently turned both of their accounts private.
Neither Marcus or her husband have made comment on the costumes as of yet.