Melbourne drag queen Karen From Finance – who’s tipped to be in the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under – has apologised for previously having a really racist tattoo, which she now says she’s covered up.
It turns out when she was little, Karen From Finance had a golliwog collection, for some reason. In 2010, she decided to get one tattooed on herself.
A golliwog is a racist caricature of Black people in the form of a children’s doll. The dolls themselves were super popular in the past, but have fallen slightly out of fashion in recent years when white people started acknowledging how racist they were. Unfortunately, you can still find them in some corners of Australia.
“In the spirit of being open and upfront with my friends, family and followers I would like to address and formally apologise for a part of my past – something that I’ve long been remorseful for and admittedly ashamed to share,” Karen From Finance wrote on Instagram.
“Eleven years ago, I had a collection of golliwog dolls – a collection that began when I was two years old – and I made the uninformed, ignorant and regrettable decision to have one of these dolls tattooed.
“In the years following, and more notably after being interviewed by someone writing an opinion piece in a tattoo magazine, I realised how insensitive and hurtful this was.”
The tattoo was brought up online at the beginning of 2021. Earlier in February, she even responded to criticism about it on Twitter.
“Even though there was of course never any intention of malice, I realised how irresponsible and stupid I had been and so I disposed of the dolls to landfill and had my tattoo covered,” she continued in her Instagram apology.
“Since then, I’ve committed to an ongoing journey of accountability, activism and education, and to uncover and unlearn any and all racial bias – conscious or unconscious – that may or may not be embedded within me.
“It has always been important to me that I use my platform for good whilst ensuring a safe community for anyone I am fortunate enough to have follow my journey.
“I can’t change the past, but I can and will work on the present and do better in the future, and with that you forever have my word.”
The response from fans has been mixed, with some people commending Karen From Finance for finally owning her mistakes while others are calling her KKKaren for getting the horrible tattoo in the first place.