Australia Today

Chris Lilley’s New Show Appears To Feature More Uncomfortable Cultural Appropriation

Behind-the-scenes photos show the comedian in an afro wig and African-inspired dress.

by VICE Staff
28 May 2018, 1:35am

I’m gonna start this article by assuming you know about Chris Lilley’s problematic history with cultural appropriation. That you’re across the backlash he attracted over his characters S.mouse from Angry Boys and Johan from Jonah From Tonga. With that in mind, it’s probably safe to assume Chris Lilley is also caught up on the criticism. But clearly, it hasn’t sunk in.

Over the weekend The Saturday Telegraph published a selection of behind-the-scenes photographs of the Australian comedian on the set of his new Netflix show. In them, Lilley appears to be dressed as a woman of colour, complete with afro wig and African-influenced dress.

Twitter was quick to jump on the shots, calling out Netflix for their part in the series and wondering why Australians continue to be so entranced by Lilley. Several people also speculated that Lilley is perhaps doing some kind of Rachel Dolezal parody. Others were less damning, asking if the costume could be going for more of a hippy mum vibe, and using the African reference as a comment on other people’s culturally appropriative dress.

The new series, which is being filmed in Queensland, was announced earlier this year. At the time Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would bring more than $6 million to the state’s economy.